In our consumer society – where waiting is discouraged – superannuation clearly shows us the benefits of delayed gratification. Superannuation is an excellent way to save for our old age because it is a relatively painless way to accumulate a substantial amount of money over 40 years (thanks to compound interest), and because we can’t touch it until we retire. But for 20-30 year olds, retirement can seem so far away when there are many more pressing concerns. I know, because when I was 28 years old I cashed in a 10 year old savings policy to meet a short term need. If I’d kept it, I would have had $150,000 in my pocket today.
Jesus often spoke about the benefits and pitfalls of money as He moved amongst the people. He rebuked the moneychangers who came to the temple to make money instead of to pray; he commended a widow for giving her last dollar to God; he chose a notorious tax-collector to be a disciple; he asked a rich man to give all his money away to the poor and follow Him; he paid His taxes from a gold coin found in a fish; he talked about debt, investments and being generous; and He allowed Judas to stay treasurer when He knew he was pilfering. Jesus used money but He never put His trust in it or let it control Him. He showed us that God is a better foundation for peace and security than all the money in the world.
He said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust can destroy it or thieves can steal it. Rather lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth or rust can destroy or thieves steal; FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE WILL YOUR HEART BE ALSO…No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other or he will hold to one and despise the other. YOU CANNOT SERVE BOTH GOD AND MONEY.” Matthew 6:19-21, 24
God is more concerned about the condition of our hearts, and our attitude to Him, than the size of our wallets. We can’t take our money and possessions with us into the next life, but we can transform them into the currency of the Kingdom – LOVE – by using them to serve Him and care for others. The pressures and uncertainties of the present economic climate may tempt you to be less generous today, but before you give in to them, consider that tomorrow it might be you who is counting on someone else to be generous.
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