Those that know tell us Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, have been retiring in ever increasing numbers since 2011 (approximately 2 million more each year). It is estimated that there are 77 million boomers in the U.S. They are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day! It should be no surprise with all of the talk today about retirement. It was recently that I saw that Jesus has some great advice for all his followers too, not just the Boomers.
One of the challenges for all generations is to not become distracted from the practice and priority of our faith. It seems like each phase of life has is own unique challenges. It is not long before the sleepless nights of toddlers give way to existing as an a chauffeur for your teens. The different stages also bring different financial challenges from the cost of diapers to the cost of retirement. The danger of each of these phases is the temptation to focus on the stuff. Jesus speaks to this when asked to settle an inheritance dispute between two brothers. He does not take the bait, but He does respond with wise counsel about thus situation. it also applies to us today. “And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15) The reminder for the follower of Jesus to keep their eye on the real prize.
It is interesting that retirement was as important in Jesus’ day as it is today. I am sure that all throughout human history, individuals have pondered, planned and even worried about how they would “make it” once they could not longer produce an income. Jesus, the “Master Teacher” took advantage of this public question to instruct that present, and through Scripture, you, and me. He then told them a story, a parable, of a guy that had made it financially. He had done well, and as Jesus shares, felt very good about his situation. “And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”” (Luke 12:19) I am sure that he had worked hard and handle his time and investments wisely. The challenge is that in the midst of his preparation for the “golden years” he missed an important point. There are no guarantees in life. Jesus shares how his life ended before he was able to realize his plans.
It does not seem like Jesus is putting down hard work, good investments or any other blessings of life. The emphasis is on not forgetting that there is more to life than all the stuff, “for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” The hard truth is that no matter how long we live eventually we die. King Solomon echoes this sentiment about death of those who have done well, “yet God does not give him power to enjoy them.” Jesus’ challenge to His audience and us reminds us to keep an eternal perspective by being rich in God by laying up treasures in heaven!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson