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Planting, Harvesting, and Sharing: Joe Timberlake's Kingdom Legacy

By Andrew Shaughnessy, Nov 24, 2020

It was 15 years ago when Joe Timberlake first heard MTW Director of Estate and Gift Planning Bruce Owens give a presentation on biblical stewardship and MTW’s estate planning program. When Bruce asked him to consider going through the estate planning process, Joe thought that it wasn’t necessary at first. After all, his will was current, as well as his wife’s. But after some careful thought and prayer, he decided: “Why not? Perhaps I could learn something.”

After completing the process, Joe and his wife, Peggy, realized that they could make some important changes to support their church, global missions, a local urban ministry, and several other projects, all while helping ensure that their needs are still taken care of.

“My experience with Bruce and the MTW Center for Estate and Gift Planning was truly outstanding and an eye opener,” Joe said. “We were able to update our wills, increase our short- and long-term giving goals, and minimize taxes at the same time.”

A Lifetime Love for Global Missions

As a veteran businessman—with 30 years of experience running a wholesale food business under his belt, plus more as a consultant, Joe values efficiency and the way estate planning tools can help minimize taxes and maximize giving.

As a faithful Christian, Joe values wise, biblical stewardship—being able to provide for his family and generously support his local church and beloved global missions projects.

The way Joe tells it, during his first two decades of marriage he and Peggy were in a denomination with very little interest in global missions. Eventually they joined a PCA church, one that placed a far higher value on the Great Commission. During their very first year as members, the Timberlakes hosted a young missionary family that was raising support to deploy to the mission field for the first time.

“That’s when we realized that we needed to do more with our giving and stewardship than just support our local church,” Joe explained. “We got involved with the church’s missions program, which Peggy co-chaired for more than 10 years.”

As Peggy helped lead their church’s global missions efforts, Joe started working more and more with MTW. He served as a member of MTW’s board for six years, as treasurer for two years, and continues to serve as an advisor and Ambassador today.

“The more we became involved with MTW, the more we were able to give as a result of the estate planning we had done with Bruce,” said Joe. “We realized that supporting missions was the only way to reach the unreached peoples of the world with the gospel, strengthen existing ministry programs, and help new Christians grow in their faith.”

Tending His Garden

These days, you can often find Joe tending his garden at his home in Georgia.

“I enjoy a large garden, yes indeed,” he said. “I take a lot of vegetables to give away … I’m probably the most popular person in church on Wednesday nights!”

A top-notch, high yield garden like Joe’s requires hard work, patience, wise stewardship of resources, and planning ahead. Gardeners know how to work hard and cultivate abundance, and Joe has approached life in much the same way as his garden—working hard, stewarding his resources, and generously giving of the fruit of his labor. Now, after a life of faithful stewardship, Joe has been able to pass on the love for the gospel and global missions that he and Peggy shared—a genuine kingdom legacy.

“This coming January, one of our granddaughters will go on the mission field short-term, following in her mother’s footsteps,” said Joe. “Perhaps our emphasis on missions had a small part in that as well. If MTW is to reach the goal of dramatically increasing the number of missionaries, we all need to encourage others to become missionaries and support them when they do.”

Visit MTW's Estate and Gift Planning to learn more about the free services we offer. 

Andrew Shaughnessy

Andrew Shaughnessy is a long-time word slinger who spent nearly six years as MTW’s staff writer, gathering and telling impact stories from missionaries across the globe. These days, he’s off working as an analyst and editor in the publishing industry, writing fiction, and mountaineering. He holds a B.A. in history and English literature from Covenant College, and an M.S. in political science from Portland State University.

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