HOW’S YOUR RETIREMENT LOOKING?
Maybe it’s because I just turned 40 last week. Or maybe it’s because we’re about to have our fifth child any day. I’m not sure exactly why, but I’ve been looking at life differently. Take, for example, two weeks ago when I received my retirement benefits statement in the mail. Talk about depressing. I know you have to take the long view with retirement investing and investing in general, but I wasn’t prepared to see where my regular contributions had gotten me after 10+ years.
As I said, there are moments in time when we begin to see life differently. This life at least.
Consider with me for a moment the fact that not everyone reading this email is going to enjoy the same level of retirement in this lifetime. Some of us may not be able to retire at all. But retirement was never what this life was really about anyhow. And besides, if you’re a true Jesus follower whose life is about seeing His Kingdom coming to earth, you and I may eventually retire from our day jobs but we will never retire from our Kingdom work.
One other interesting note is that not everyone reading this email is going to enjoy the same level of eternal retirement. Or should I say, ‘eternal reward’. In a society where we work for fairness and equality in all things, God’s Kingdom isn’t exactly set up the same way. Some who enjoy posh retirements here and now may live with small eternal reward while others who face financial challenges here in this life will receive a crown and treasures unimaginable in the coming age. Heaven is for real and so are God’s promises of eternal rewards. The question is, where are you most investing for your real ‘retirement’?
Jesus often spoke about eternal rewards. “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” (Matt. 16:27). “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in Heaven that will not be exhausted….” (Luke 12:33). “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21).
It seems pretty clear from Jesus’ teaching that there is an eternal reality through which we are to view our short existence here on earth. And the Apostle Paul echoes Jesus’ words by continually talking to the Church about laying up heavenly treasure and living in such a way as to receive a crown.
The ultimate question that Jesus and Paul are asking is a heart question: where and what is your treasure? Is your driving focus in life about using the gifts, time and resources God has given you for His Kingdom……or for yours?
With the New Year approaching, perhaps this is a great time to prayerfully assess your life and your priorities. If you got a retirement benefit statement in the mail today from heaven, how would it read? Would you be depressed or excited? What would it reveal about your heart and your treasure?
I don’t know how your earthly retirement is taking shape, but I do know that there is an eternal investment account that you and I need to be paying particular attention to because God is. Let’s seek first His Kingdom together in 2017!
Seth Hankee has served in pastoral ministry at Greenmonte Fellowship since 2004 and has a passion to see the church equipped for Kingdom ministry. Nothing excites him more than to see people recognize their identity and purpose in Christ and begin living that out.