My dad and I have differing opinions on many subjects. On of them is retirement savings. Each year he asks if I have contributed to my IRA (Individual Retirement Account). I say no, so he asks why not, and I reply, “I have and ERA (Eternal Retirement Account) instead.”
Perhaps this seems like an obvious conclusion, but believing what God speaks through His Word changes you. As I read His word, I began to realize everything we have comes from Him. If this is true, why do we live as if the money we have is ours and believe if we give God something each week that is sufficient?
Of course, there are good reasons, like college funds and emergencies, to store up “my” treasures in saving accounts or investments; however, we decided that we wanted our financial decisions to show we were putting our trust in the LORD and not in wise financial planning for the future. I wanted to excel in the grace of giving following the example of the Macedonians who first gave themselves completely to God, and then by the will of God gave generously to the ministry of the saints. By taking baby steps of faith, we began by giving more our church. Later we chose to sponsor an older adult, to contribute to a ministry which establishes others in God’s word, and to a ministry that supports Christians who live in areas hostile to the gospel. Over the years, God has shown us various opportunities to invest in His kingdom.
God provided for our family when my husband was between jobs for 16 months. He supplied funds so our 3 oldest children will each graduate college with very little debt. Even better I can share the joy with my missionary friends who video-taped the delivery of the very first Bibles to an unreached people group. I rejoice seeing the smile of a teenage girl who is well-fed, educated, and now a believer in Christ in a Muslim country.
In his book, The Treasure Principle, Randy Alcorn helped me to further clarify my thinking on this subject, so I will conclude with three quotes to ponder from Mr. Alcorn.
He who lays up treasures on earth spends his life backing away from his treasures. To him, death is loss. He who lays up treasures in heaven looks forward to eternity; he’s moving daily toward his treasures. To him, death is gain. He who spends his life moving toward his treasures has reason to rejoice. Are you despairing or rejoicing?
When you leave this world, will you be known as one who accumulated treasures on earth that you couldn’t keep? Or will you be recognized as one who invested treasures in heaven that you couldn’t lose?
You can’t take it with you – but you can send it on ahead.