On Planning for Retirement
15 And He said to them, Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness (the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more); for a man’s life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance or that which is over and above his needs. Luke 12:15 Amplified Bible
In this verse Jesus responds to one who requests Jesus make his brother to divide his inheritance with him. It is easy for us to get overly concerned about possessions, even our future possessions. As believers, does our approach to retirement planning match the words of Jesus?
Life in Jesus is obviously not about our possessions. We can have possessions but that can’t be our focus. Even our thinking about our future plans can’t focus on money. While it is not wrong to plan for the future, our trust should not come from whatever we have endeavored to store up for ourselves.
This point becomes clearer as Jesus tells the parable of the rich man who had so much provision that he was building bigger storehouses and taking the rest of his life easy. He was called a fool and his life demanded that very night. Our culture has told us to save up for the future and trust in our 401K or perhaps Social Security. The truth is we need to place our trust in Him EVERY day of life. A few verses down Jesus continue teaching the disciples:
29 And you, do not seek [by meditating and reasoning to inquire into] what you are to eat and what you are to drink; nor be of anxious (troubled) mind [[j]unsettled, excited, worried, and [k]in suspense]; 30 For all the pagan world is [greedily] seeking these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Only aim at and strive for and seek His kingdom, and all these things shall be supplied to you also. Luke 12:29-31 Amplified Bible
It is easy to get unsettled about the future and we hear even Christian experts telling us to “Save, save, save and plan for your future”. The thing of it is, I don’t see Jesus saying that. I am not making the radical suggestion that you spend your money now and make no plans for the future. That is poor stewardship. Make plans but you must find your peace and comfort in Jesus not in your retirement plan! If the economy crashed and money became worthless, it wouldn’t matter anyway. I would also say, if you have money put aside for tomorrow and Jesus asks you to use it now to advance His kingdom, be obedient, He would not ask and then not take care of you.
My only point is Jesus did not say put your faith in your retirement, He did not say follow a plan at the expense of trusting in Him. He only said “seek His kingdom and all these things shall be supplied to you”. It is better to learn now how to trust Jesus every day for all your needs and not stress over tomorrow. Better to trust Him now, than make a “wise” plan for your future.
J Todd Hostetler