CHRISTIANS PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE

Over 27 years I have assisted people in planning for their financial futures. For 18 years, I had given between two and four seminars, a year on budgeting for retirement to the Metro police department. If you are depending on the government, city, county or national you may be sorry if they run out of money. I have learned over the years that most people are more concerned about the here and now than about their future. Most people are not financially prepared when it comes to retirement. Over the years we have witnessed and read where people who had well-paying jobs, yet lived from payday to payday. When it came time for retirement they had mostly, just what Social Security paid. You cannot, in the last five years of working, adequately prepare for 20 to 30 years in retirement. When it is too late, we are told they are sorry they did not take the time and the discipline to save for their later years. When they did not plan adequately, they often wonder what they can do now?

The same is true when it comes to preparing for their spiritual futures. I am not sure what the heavenly rewards are for deathbed conversions. Matthew 6:19 – 21 – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be.”

How can we store up all kinds of treasures unless we become Disciples of Christ? To become Disciples, Christ told us what we must do in Mark 8:34 – 36 – “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”

We must practice self-denial. We are asked to control our desires for material things that distract us from our relationship with Christ. For example, money can be the “root” of evil. Our carnal nature and lusts and pleasures of the body, is to be self-centered. We must become spiritual and God-centered.

Take up our cross is asking us to be willing to suffer for Christ. We are to identify with Christ whenever we are faced with social or political correctness. It means a willingness to obey God’s Word no matter what the consequences.

We are told to follow Jesus. That requires that we humble ourselves and become submissive to His teaching. For us to save our souls we must be willing to give our life and worldly goals for God-centered goals and desires. What good would it be if on earth we had wealth, power and fame and yet failed to live in eternity? What we will have, once Christ returns to take control, will be far greater than anything that Satan can promise us here and now.

We must ask ourselves: “What are we willing to exchange for our soul as some people have?” Is pleasure, possessions, position or power worth sacrificing one’s soul? There is nothing that can buy back a lost soul and I don’t believe in paying one’s way out of Purgatory. We must be more willing to pursue God than pursuing the world’s pleasure. Jesus wants us to stop controlling our own destiny and let the Holy Spirit direct us. This means we must give up control of our worldly ways and be submissive to God’s ways.

Many people spend their time and energy looking for pleasure. However, we must be aware that a world full of pleasures, possessions, and position is ultimately worthless when one dies. What we gained was only temporary.

We have used the ten, ten example and live on 80% of what we earn. Ten percent is given to the local church. Ten percent goes to our future. The rest is what we have to live on. If you do an adequate job of saving and start at an early age, you should be able to give much more than ten percent to God’s ministry.

Too many Christians want to be saved and go to heaven, but they are not willing to become a Disciple. There are too few willing to give their soul or life for Christ. They fail to plan financially for retirement and they fail to place treasures in heaven. Many have become deceived by Satan as to how much they will miss here on earth if they become Christ’s Disciples.

Chances of becoming a Christ’s Disciple without a plan for the future, the odds are against it. But you have a choice. John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Become a Disciple and live forever. Reject Christ and perish into fire and brimstone. Eighty or ninety years on earth verses “forever”! Are those earth years worth forever in eternity?

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