Do We Plan for Our Retirement or Give It All to God?
I originally received a big question from a reader that I wanted to answer in a series of blogs. The first part of my answer was written yesterday about the Rich Young Ruler. Today, I want to address the other parts of the question:
If we do strictly as the Bible instructs, "store up treasures in heaven, not on earth," then why have a 401k or other retirement plans? Shouldn't we give all that we have to "God" and trust that He will take care of us in retirement? I sometimes wonder if I should take all that and pour it into the Kingdom rather than keeping it for my future. Isn't it good stewardship to plan for the future (God told Joseph to store up grain for the future because a famine was coming and it would be needed)?
These are questions that I have received many times over since hosting the radio show. These are just my opinions based on Scripture. I would love to hear your opinions as well.
We Are Called to Take Care of Our Family- 1 Timothy 5:8 Paul writes that it is our responsibility to take care of and provide for our families. In order to do so, we have to practice good stewardship and provide financially for them through financial and retirement planning. I think that prudent financial planning to provide for our families is extremely important. That is a lifetime call to be good stewards over what God has blessed us with financially.
Dictating a Blessing Is a Slippery Slope- God will bless us for being obedient and faithful in our giving. That is guaranteed. At the same time, giving comes with no attachment to the extent of that blessing. The prosperity gospel is focused on giving so that God will prosper you financially. There are many midnight televangelists who will almost guarantee that if you give to their ministry you will be blessed financially. As my Pastor Pete Briscoe said in a recent sermon, if it doesn't work out, they will tell you that you did not have enough Faith and to give more. Giving with the expectation of receiving financial blessings is dictating ahead of time how God is to bless us. God will bless you. Blessings come in many forms including financial. It is not up to us to dictate the form of the blessing ahead of time. It is up to us to be faithful. It is almost like making a deal with God. God, if you bless me financially, then I will give.
You Miss the Benefits of a Life of Financial Stewardship- Christ called it out in Matthew 6:24 that we would struggle with competition of who is God in our lives. Will it be God or money? Our relationship with money is one of the things that dictates the quality and depth of our relationship with God. If we can surrender to a Matthew 6:24 life daily and get that priority right, your relationship with Christ will grow to depths you can't imagine. Consider the fact that money can be a powerful, tempting god in our lives. No one said that this whole stewardship thing was going to be easy. The problem is that money is the god of illusions. Illusions are an easy trap to fall for.
Put God in Charge and Let Him Lead Your Financial Life- This is the single most important part of the answer. If you let Him, God will lead you to the right financial decisions and surely will lead you in your giving. The beauty of it all is that God gives us peace when it comes to the right door to open. Acknowledge that everything we have is what He blessed us with and we are just here to manage it under His direction. Most importantly, pray for that wisdom and direction!