Ever since I received my undergraduate degree I began seriously thinking about my future and how I would fulfill desires in the world of work and what it all means. With this comes the preparation or at least some forethought into the day that I would be a husband, father, and one day retire and hope to leave an inheritance for my kids. Over the past 3 to 4 years I have been in this struggle to begin setting up a path for success and to be responsible in preparing for financial stability throughout the rest of my life. I began to study successful people as well as follow the formulas for successful investors with Dave Ramsey and Warren Buffett. I even studied the Christian principles of money laid out in a Crown Financial class. I have believed that preparing for retirement is a need. And, one that has been waying on me while also knowing that America is in every aspect in a state of financial ruin. There is not a place that I can turn to that I can sense a real awareness of how to be responsible with money, time, and effort and at the same time be open to the Lord’s leading. Typically it seems to be people grasping and living out one aspect of these things but not all of them collectively. Without fully embracing all of these at the same time I see a sense of increased pride and control in other areas. I not only speak of others, but I speak of myself as well. This has frustrated me to no end.
The Bible continually puts work in a positive light, something that is good. Before sin, in our perfection, Adam was told to tend the garden, Gen. 2:15. Then after sin entered into the picture work became much harder as explained in Gen. 3:17-19. But, I believe the Bible still points toward work as being a good thing as evidenced in Prov. 6:6-11, 2 Thess. 3:10, and Colossians 3:23, to name a few. In my search for security in my retirement I have realized it is a false sense of security. I need to plan for the future, but in a much different way than what I am being told by the financial advisors. I am not turning my back from the methods that we as Americans have used to earn money such as stocks, investments, and entrepreneurial endeavors. But, I am turning my back on the idea that I am storing up treasures for my retirement or for my family in the future. I still have a focus and an understanding of this responsibility. But, by holding money away and relying on riding the waves of a financially unstable economy is not an option. We as Americans are not able to rely on a system that breeds success as it once did simply by following the system. I believe this is a good thing though because it allows all of our culture to re-evaluate where we have placed our trust and requires us to place our fears in other sources for hope. I believe this is why we have seen people desperately clinging to pleasures, politics, or other “drugs” that hold us captive. I have also been fearing the future and the failures of going with the flow.
Over the past few months I have decided that the time is now and that waiting is not an option anymore. Jesus demands my efforts now. And now I seek to turn from seeking the world’s direction of fitting into the mold. This has made things a bit challenging in the get go but I know that I am able to build something that I can truly be proud of because God is at work. I’m reminded of a picture of this in simple terms like when a child goes to the doctor to receive a shot of medicine. I have been tensing up and making the shot much more painful. Now, being aware of the need for this medicine I have relaxed, loosened the muscles, and am allowing the medicine to enter my body which allows a much better experience altogether. In the same way, humbling and being ready for God to move, not preparing for my 401k when I forsee the trouble to come has liberated my soul.
And I will take pride in the fact that God has called us to work and that it is a good thing. And I will not be looking for a pay check as the source of gain for my future as God time and time again provides for his children just as the birds of the air. I will look for opportunity to serve and a sense of purpose that is at the center of my being, that I may be used in the greatest means possible, working for a higher calling, not for a retirement of sitting idly by and watching after accomplishing a tower with a flimsy foundation.