About Your Retirement...
Anytime I watch live TV I’m struck by the vast numbers of retirement commercials. They run constantly. It is non-stop. It seems like every other commercial is trying to make sure you will live comfortably in your retirement. The amassing of personal wealth for retirement seems to be the goal of every American.
When you discuss retirement with many people you begin to find out that it is a very real worry and concern. Folks have a desire to sock away enough cash to live the “good life” in their later years.
“I’ve worked hard. I deserve it.”
Jesus told a story that I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. Check this out, it’s from Luke 12:13-21;
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family >inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or >arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against >all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of >possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced >abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to >store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build >larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my >soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be >merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being >demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is >with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
Jesus, says, “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
Our world begs to differ.
Everywhere I look I see the advice: “Tear down your small barns. Build bigger ones!”
The farmer in Jesus’ story is doing what many of us would say is wise. He is saving, storing, preparing for his future. He has amassed such an overwhelming amount of surplus that he can retire and enjoy the good life.
Yet, his life is demanded of him that very night. He will never be able to enjoy his surplus.
Where did his worry get him? Nowhere.
How do I know that Jesus is talking about worry? Because the very next thing his says is, “Therefore, I tell you do not worry...”
Yup. This story starts with greed and ends with worry.
Why? Because greed overwhelms us. It demands our heart and soul. When we become greedy we lose sight of what matters most.
Should you be wise with your assets? Yes. Absolutely.
Should you prepare for the future? Yes. Absolutely.
Should you prepare for the future at the expense of generosity? No.
I think that the greed/generosity is at the center of this story. The farmer had so much more than he needed. He could have shared. He could have made his life about so much more. He chose not to.
When our lives become about our possessions then we have lost our way.
I know that this can be hard for us to really wrap our minds around. But, I think that’s because we don’t really believe that the God we see in the Bible exists. If Jesus really is the face of God then we live in a benevolent universe. If Jesus is the face of God then we don’t have to worry. Our lives can be about much more than our possessions.
How can you check and see if you’re living a possession-centric life? It is very simple. Ask yourself this question: “How would I respond if someone broke into my home and stole my stuff?”
If the loss of “stuff” would hit you at a gut level, then you’re living for possessions.
Let us not worry about the future. Let us be a people who lives with generous hearts. Our lives are so much more than the abundance of possessions. Could you imagine if we lived like that were true?