Should a believer really contribute to IRA’s, 401K’s or other retirement accounts?
My wife and I are between churches right now. We have been visiting different local assemblies throughout the fall we are close to making a final decision about the congregation that we will join. Last week we had one of the pastors over for dinner. In the course of our conversation, he made an interesting statement. He said:
I believe that a believer should not have 401K’s, IRA’s or any other type of retirement account.
At first I was a little taken back, but then I started to think about many of the promises that we find in Scripture – like the Apostle Paul’s admonition to a young pastor in I Timothy 6:8:
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
How about the story of the rich man in Luke 12?
Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’”Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
If we take these verses literally, we have to say that “Pastor Jim” might be on to something. It kind of shatters our worldview as Americans, but read this next part carefully:
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 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, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
There are many more passages that emphasize this idea, more than we can discuss here. Basically, Pastor Jim was saying that we need to claim this promise of God. IF we are believers, true followers of Christ, instead of saving money for a comfortable retirement, we will trust Him and use that money to care for our neighbors and especially our church members in need.
I call this idea “radical faith”. At least it sounds radical to our way of thinking, but is he right? What if we have grown too dependent on the easy wealth that surrounds us? What if our faith muscles are so weak that we no longer trust clear promises from God’s Word?
Article by Stew
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