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Gifts and Estate Planning

The Parable of the Apple Orchard

In the beginning, God created the apple tree. He said to man, “This is my tree. I’m going to teach you how to fertilize it. I’ll teach you how to prune it. I’ll send the sunshine and the rain, and together we will grow a beautiful apple tree."

And man did as God had instructed. He pruned, fertilized, and God sent sunshine, rain and His blessing.

You and I know that as stewardship.

Man and woman had children, and they discipled their children to grow their own apple trees. It wasn’t long until they had a country of beautiful apple orchards producing red, shiny delicious apples.

But man began to argue with other men about whose trees would be picked by whom. And other nations became jealous of the way God had blessed their country. And they began to build armies to take over the country.

And God said, “It’s not good that man should operate this way.” So He sent kings and judges to be in charge.

We call that government.

The kings did their jobs
...they built armies to protect their country.
The judges did their jobs
. . .they decided whose trees would
be picked by whom.

And peace returned to their country.

When peace had returned, the kings and judges came to man and said, “Man, we need some apples to finance our operation.”

We call this income tax.

Man understood that he could live with any income tax system put in place by government, so long as he had enough apples left over to eat. That didn’t mean he would like it, but he could live with it.

Man observed that there were surplus apples being produced by his country. But there were other countries that didn’t have enough apples to eat. So man decided to sell his apple orchard and build a packing company. He would pack the surplus apples and ship them to other countries for a profit.

But you know what happened when man sold his apple orchard. Caesar came in and cut down a fourth of the apple trees.

We call that a capital gains tax.

And man realized that something different had happened. When Caesar took a third of the apples as an income tax, man went back to the apple orchard the next year and picked another hundred bushels of apples. But when Caesar cut down the trees, there were no more apples.

Man then observed that when his neighbor died, Caesar cut down half of his apple trees.

We call that an estate tax.

Man said to Caesar, “Caesar, don’t you understand? There are only two things you can do with an apple tree. You can fertilize it, prune it and let God send the sunshine, rain, and blessing, and grow apples. Or, you can cut it down and burn it as firewood."

And Caesar still doesn’t understand why there are more hungry people on the streets today than there were when he cut down the first apple tree. It’s because when you cut down the trees, you don’t have any more apples.

So man said to Caesar, “Caesar, those are not your trees, those are God’s trees. God has placed me here as a steward, the caretaker and trustee of those trees.”

“I’m going to build a fence around God's apple orchards, and I’m not going to give you a key. You can stand at the gate and take some of my apples when I pick them, but you cannot cut down God’s trees over which I am a steward.”


We would count it a privilege to help you build fences around the "apple orchard" God has entrusted to you. To assist you, our staff has prepared a special Guide to Planning Your Estate. Please write for your free copy today, or call (602) 300-9870.

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