Well this is the final post in my 'what about...' series that was sparked off by this post from Dave Matthias. It's taken me a while and I've clearly got distracted along the way, but here we are.
What about the future? Jesus made a few blindingly obvious statements, 'worrying won't add an hour to your life' (Mt 6:27). It's obvious isn't it, the future, that tie that lies ahead of us is something we have staggeringly little control over.
All those pension plans ruined by swift collapse in the financial systems, or the onset of disease. Dreams wrecked by relationship breakdown, plans collecting dust because 'circumstances beyond our control' have happened or if you work in insurance 'acts of God'. Yet none of this stops us worrying about tomorrow even though today has enough to occupy us (Mt 6:34). It seems that in 2000 years we still haven't been able to trust Jesus on this one.
200 years ago retirement only existed for the super-rich and in many countries the concept is alien. Who will look after the animals? Who will bring in the crops? Retirement? Early-retirement is a dream. For us it has become an ambition and a right. It is my right to store up for myself riches so that I may enjoy the fruits of my labour. My current pension plan is not bringing in the bacon quick enough, I need a better return. I wonder if to people like this, God continues to say, 'You fool' (Lk 12:20)? According to some reports you're twice as likely to die if you retire early than if you wait until 65.
I'm not a natural worrier so, I understand that this is easier for some than others (although the very term 'natural worrier' should make us think. Think, not worry), but the point is - if I'm confident that God is able to look after my eternal future then surely He is able to look after my immediate future (and to God 40 years from now is still pretty immediate).
Part of our problem is that we don't even really have to trust God for our present, give us this day our daily bread (Mt 6:11) doesn't mean much when you can buy a month's worth at Tesco. But perhaps it might start to mean a lot more, unemployment and financial pressures may mean we need to start depending on God for our needs for each day. So, maybe we should do that every day.
So what should our approach be? I think it's simple (simple doesn't always mean easy though). Seek first, the kingdom (Mt 6:33) and all these other things will be added. Savings I have are to be put at God's disposal, same with my assets and my belongings, same with my life. The kingdom is what matters, following Him until He calls me home is what matters, investing in my eternal future is far more important that worrying about a short period of time between the ages of 70 to whenever. I'm confident that a life well lived before God will be rewarded eternally so that's my goal, my prize, my crown and reward. Kind of put things in perspective doesn't it?
I'm not saying don't save, I'm saying save with a purpose. The future will look after itself, and I trust God to look after me.