Should A Christian Save For Retirement?
Did Jesus save?
Most Bible scholars agree that Jesus probably did not have an IRA or RRSP. Yet, Jesus did save money. I define saving as not spending money now so those funds can be used for a future expense. Saving involves discernment. Savings happens when we say I will not use money for this. I will keep it for a future purpose. There were occasions when Jesus had money. At the feeding of the Photo by alancleaver_2000the disciples wondered if their money should be spent on feeding such a large crowd (Luke 9:14). In John 13:29 there is some (false) discussion about what Jesus intends for Judas to do with the money. Now I am not planning on making a huge theological point aside from the fact that there were occasions when Jesus did not spend money today because he was saving it for something in the future. I would call this the discerning process of saving. The saving period may have been several days or several weeks, but it was saving nevertheless. Certainly, we would not accuse Jesus of a lack of faith for keeping any money any time he received it. Instead, he was exemplifying a positive characteristic of stewardship by ensuring the money with which he was entrusted was used appropriately. Therefore, I do not think Jesus would condemn someone for taking money given today to be used for a worthy cause in the future. That future might be 1 day, 1 year, 10 years, or years.
Should Christians Save Money?
The question is not ‘to save or not to save’. Nor is it ‘to give or not to give’. Both should be practiced at the same time. We should always be saving and giving. Those who save and do not give exemplify attributes of a hoarder. Those who give and do not save for the needs of their family may eventually become a burden to the church. We do not want our choices to burden the church (1 Timothy 5:8).
What Do You Do With Your Money?
We will all find ourselves somewhere on the spectrum below:
Squander Save Hoard
Each of the above choices (squander, save, or hoard) reveal something about our character:
One who squanders lacks self-control.
One who saves has self-control.
One who hoards has greed.
Which of these qualities are spiritual? (Gal. 5:16-26).
Why I save for retirement:
God is honored when I manage my money in such a way that my family has its necessary provisions. This way I remove my family from potentially being an unnecessary burden on the church both today and in the future (Tim. 5:8).
God is honored when I am in a financial position that allows me to help with various needs (Eph. 4:28).
God is honored when I biblically exhibit wise choices rather than foolish practices (Proverbs 21:20). I do not want to practice things that the Bible calls foolish.
God is honored when I learn to be content (Phil 4:11). This allows me to accept the blessings of God along with the hardship of life.
God is honored when I recognize I have enough. Without this ability I am in danger of becoming a hoarder. A system like the graduated tithe helps us establish when we have enough. See my graduated tithe post to learn more. (Luke 12:16-21).
God is honored when we are free to follow without the obligation of debt. (Deut. 15:6, Proverbs 22:7). Savings keeps us further from the distractions of debt.
One thing for Christians to remember when saving for retirement:
Many people who are saving today are saving for a specific purpose – which is good. We, as Christians, need to remember that our savings are always open to redirection at the call of God. Consider the Good Samaritan. He was a man who had money – a man who probably had a purpose for that money, but God called him to use that money in a different way than he had intended. Margaret Thatcher said, “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he only had good intentions. He had money as well”. He must have previously said “no” to some spending or giving opportunity in order to say “yes” to helping the man on the road. This requires a spiritual act of discernment. Recognize that some are called to ministries of dependence (Luke 10:1-4). Those called to this ministry give their savings frequently. In order for some to do this ministry of dependence there must be some who do the ministries of provision. These providers offer a home and food so the the workman of God can receive the wages he deserves.
Even some of the greatest stories of generosity in the Bible were savings that God prompted to be used for something other than what the saver would have intended. Consider the widow with the two mites (Mark 12:42). How is it that she came to have two mites? It is quite possible that at one point she had one mite, but saved it then later decided she should give those coins. Think also about Joseph (Barnabas) who sold a field and placed the money at the feet of the apostles ( Acts 4:36-37). Previously he had decided to keep the field until he felt a burden to give. He may have been using it/saving it for another purpose. What these examples exhibit is the flexibility to do something different with their resources than they had originally intended.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. (Proverbs 16:9, NIV)
What do you think? Do you save for retirement? Why or why not?