I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”
In Luke 12, Jesus told a parable to warn against greed. He said, “The land of a rich man was very productive” (v. 16). In Jesus’s day, the way you gained wealth was by agriculture, and this man’s land was extremely productive. “He began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’” (v. 17). Apparently, he had had a banner harvest that year, and he had more crops than he knew what to do with. What a problem to have!
So he came up with a plan. Look at verses 18-19: “This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.’”
His financial plan was twofold. First of all, he said, “I am going to store up so much wealth that I do not have to worry about anything in the future.” Let me ask you: What amount of money is going to protect you from being hit by a drunk driver? What amount of money is going to protect you against a maverick cancer cell in your body? The idea that money can protect us is only an illusion. And this man was under that illusion.
Second, he said, “I am going to store up so much money that I never have to work again.” In other words, he was going to retire. This idea of retirement, that I can spend the last twenty or thirty years of my life doing nothing but entertaining myself, is a very American idea–and a very unbiblical idea. God’s plan was never that you spend the last twenty or thirty years of your life waking up every morning saying, “What am I going to do today to entertain myself?” Now, I am not saying that you have to stay at your job forever, but God wants your life to be productive and to count for something, not to be focused on yourself.
This unbiblical idea of retirement produces all kinds of stress. People think, “I have to get this big pile of money so I can live off it the rest of my life.” Sure, we ought to set aside a little bit to save, but few people can save enough money to spend decades not working. Then people end up becoming stingy–they do not give to God what they ought to give because they are trying to accumulate this nest egg, so that one day they can wake up and say, “I have arrived! I can eat and drink and be merry and take my ease.” But that was never God’s plan for us.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Loosening Your Grip On Greed” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org