"Should've Been A Cowboy"

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Contentment & Generosity

over the past few weeks my church has been focusing on contentment and generosity. at the end of our service last week the topic was opened up for some discussion. it was interesting to hear the different view points on the topic from those i've know for a while to those i've never seen before. it seems a lot of people, like myself, have had some struggles with this topic. the truth is almost every christian has had some kind of struggle with the topic at one point or another.

i know God calls me to love my neighbor as myself. to give ten percent of all i make as a tithe. if someone asked for my help, give it. if i loan money, do not charge interest. if someone doesn't pay me back as they promised, don't sue them for it. only take what what i need and share the rest with those in need. to not let my wants and desires affect my ability to do the aforementioned things. furthermore i'm called to rely on God and to trust that he will always provide for me. this has caused me to question whether it is right to save for retirement. should i give my tithe, keep what is necessary to cover my current needs, give the rest to the less fortunate, and rely on the Lord for the future? is it wrong to put way for retirement?

my curiosity has sparked some recent reading on my part. i know proverbs 6 speaks of a parable about an ant. it says to pay attention to the ant. to note that it labors all summer gathering food for the winter. when i take this lesson and apply it to my life i come up with the following belief.... i should give my tithe, keep what is necessary to cover my currents needs and a small portion of my future needs, and give the rest to the less fortunate.

to me saving a portion of my income for retirement is what God wants me to do, but at the same time he wants me to do it in a manner that is fitting to his calling for me. i should not save for a lavish retirement, but instead for a retirement as humble as the life he calls me to live now. this can cause one to wonder how much is needed to be saved to live a humble life in the future. if i start saving too late or if i save too little i will end up in distress like an ant that didn't do its job. at the same time i don't want to save too much because i then would be misusing that which God has given me. fortunately history has shown our society to be fairly predictable. thus my future cost of living can be predicted by using some higher math. this way i can save only what i will need for the "winter".

sadly, i've made mistakes in the past that have led me to a lifestyle unbefitting to what God has called me to. all i can do at this point is focus on rectifying my situation so that i can live the life God has called me to live. thankfully he has given me the knowledge and the tools to do so.


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