My parents, Doug and Charlotte Jenks, met at Mount Hermon and lived as followers of Jesus throughout their lives. With a vision to thrive in their own faith and see their children embrace the faith they cherished they were consistently engaged with their church and with the ministry of Mount Hermon.
My sisters (Marilyn and Liz) and I have often reflected on the many ways our parents influenced us towards embracing the Lord they loved. They did this with both words and actions. With words they always encouraged us to talk about anything, ask important questions and pay attention to the things that matter the most. With actions they modeled the faith they proclaimed. We were never confused about what our parents valued most deeply.
Doug and Charlotte Jenks were generous people. I remember their telling me about their joy in being able to give to the Lord through our church and Mount Hermon. My dad was the first person to talk with me about money from a broad and biblical perspective. He wanted his children to avoid the dangers of greed, envy, fear or pride that often accompany a misguided perspective of money. He talked with me about having healthy habits around giving, spending and saving. Our parents wanted us to experience the reality of generous living as a response to loving a generous God.
This influence continued in an amazing way as my parents neared the end of their lives, entered heaven and surely experienced the reality that “We brought nothing into the world, and we take nothing out of it” (I Timothy 6:7).
Cancer took Doug Jenks’ life in 1999, but it did not take away his vision be a faithful follower of Jesus and a Godly influence for his family. I remember my father sharing with me that I did not need to worry that his death would create financial confusion for his family. They had taken the needed steps to prepare for the financial changes associated with his passing. Then he shared with me their vision to joyfully share a final financial gift to the Lord whenever my mom would join him in heaven. He wanted me to hear this from him, that a legacy gift was a way they could honor and thank the Lord who had given them so much. He also said they wanted this legacy gift to be a final and specific teachable moment for his children.
When my mom passed away in 2012 we were able to facilitate our parents’ wishes and relay a gift from their estate to Mount Hermon and their church. Our parent’s final financial gifts to ministries that cherished their most precious values allowed them to express in their death what they had proclaimed throughout their lives. I will never forget this powerful expression of faith and my parents’ wise intentionality to give in this way. This was a beautiful and teachable moment indeed! My parents’ legacy gifts were a final kingdom investment in ministries they loved and a powerful influencer encouraging their children to continue to follow Jesus in a humble and generous way.