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Why Saving for Retirement Doesn’t Mean You’re ‘Storing Up Treasure’ on Earth

  • Britnee Bradshaw
Why Saving for Retirement Doesn’t Mean You’re ‘Storing Up Treasure’ on Earth

I love to save money! It really gives me a sense of happiness in my heart to know that I’m disciplined enough to not spend everything that drops into my hands. With that said, my motives for saving have changed drastically over the years.

When I first became a believer, I still had my old mindset and viewed saving as an achievement. Growing up, the financial literacy that I learned in my house was basically to make sure to tithe and save off of the money that I received. Whatever else that I did with my money was up to me as long as I did those two things. So, I treated my ability to save like a prized possession. I took pride in seeing my savings account grow. It felt good to say that I had ‘x’ amount of dollars saved at any given time.

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Worth, Entitlement, and Happiness Are Not Found in Money

Now that I’m a more mature believer, I see saving in a completely different light. I now understand that my worth, entitlement, and happiness can never be found in the amount of money I store up for myself. Rather, these things are found in Christ alone. In addition, after experiencing multiple emergency situations where I had to drain my hard-earned savings, and then build my stash back up, I learned the importance of stewardship and why saving money is important.

As believers, we are taught to love and to give to others as freely as we have received from the Lord. Doing that is sound doctrine, so one might question the purpose of saving for retirement. Shouldn’t we be more concerned with giving what we have to others? Or, shouldn’t we be less concerned about storing our treasures on earth, and instead be concerned with the things of the Spirit?

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God Has Invested into Us

God gives us every single thing we have. Our health, our possessions, our money, our gifts and talents, all of it belongs to him. I truly believe that he wants to see a return on the things that he has invested into us! He wants us to be excellent stewards over all of these things so that we can be witnesses to the world of his Kingdom.

With that said, saving for retirement is very different than storing up treasures on Earth! The difference has everything to do with our understanding of the Holy word. Scripture does not contradict itself, even though it may look like this way sometimes. Scripture is revelatory and we need the discernment of the Holy Spirit to understand what certain things means.

There are scriptures in the word that speak about us being wise with the things that have been entrusted to us. Unless God reveals a word of knowledge to us about our futures, we have no idea what is to come.

So, let’s break down what storing up our treasures means biblically, and then look to the scriptures to help aid us in our individual journeys to saving for retirement.

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What Storing Up Treasures on Earth Actually Means

In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells the disciples about the dangers of laying up treasures for themselves on earth. He said that on earth, moths and rust can destroy these treasures, and thieves can break in and steal them. But in Heaven, moths and rust cannot destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal (Matthew 6:19-21). A treasure is anything that we covet. It is something that we place high value on, something that we protect and shield and deem incredibly important.

Jesus doesn’t want us to covet the things of this world. Our jobs, our homes, even our relationships are all temporal things. They are all subjected to passing away due to natural means, or being stolen. The Lord wants us to use the things of this world so far as they concern us for living in this earthly realm, but we should desire, covet, and treasure the things of Heaven! Heaven is our home, so it makes sense as to why Jesus wants the desires of our hearts fixed there.

In addition, it is not possible to love this world and love God at the same time. We can try to do this, but we will fail. One or the other will come out on top and be master over us! Since we are sojourners on this Earth, God should be the object of our affection, not this world.

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Investing In Retirement Is Wise

Just because we aren’t supposed to desire and covet the things on Earth doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be good stewards while we are living here! God wants us to use wisdom in how we live our lives. I love the account of Joseph and how he interpreted Pharaoh's dreams. It is a wonderful example of why we should store up our resources while we have the ability to do so now, so that we can meet our needs when resources become limited and finite. We should save while we are young and strong and have the energy and ability to work the most. When we are older and our bodies age, we may not have the same capabilities that we do now to acquire wealth.

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We Will Reach an Age When We Can't Labor as Efficiently

In the scripture, Pharaoh had two separate dreams that Joseph interpreted. Both of the dreams have the same meaning. In the first dream, seven plump, beautiful cows are eaten up by seven skinny, ugly cows. In the second dream, seven strong and healthy ears of grain are swallowed up by seven weak ears of grain (Genesis 41:15-24). Joseph tells Pharaoh that the dream is a revelation from the Lord that seven years of great plenty will come, followed by seven years of great famine. He told Pharaoh that because he had two dreams, the matter was fixed and was going to happen very soon (Genesis 41:25-32).

To help ease the burden of the famine, Joseph instructed Pharaoh to save up a fifth of the harvest for each of the seven years of plenty and store it up. That way when the years of famine hit, there would be food for the land of Egypt and the people wouldn’t go hungry. I believe that we can apply this to our lives when it comes to saving up for retirement. One day, Lord willing, and if Jesus doesn’t tarry in His coming, we will all reach an age where we simply won’t be able to labor as efficiently as we can when we are young. If work is our means for getting money to take care of our needs, then what this means is that someday, we’ll need money, even though we won’t physically be able to get it the way we can now.

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Using the Resources We Have Now with the Future in Mind

Saving up for retirement is wise. It is using the resources we have now with the future in mind. It’s recognizing that God has put in us the ability and the power to build wealth, and He didn’t do that so that we could spend it all away on different endeavors! In addition, when we are talking about the things that we need to survive, our food and clothes and shelter, these things shouldn’t be seen as treasures. These things are our natural needs! A treasure is a reward. Something that is given above and beyond what we normally need. This is why Matthew 6:19-21 isn’t the same thing as what Joseph told Pharaoh to do.

I pray that you would look at this information and be wise about the money you have right now! Whatever means God has given you to acquire wealth, tithe and give to others, but also make sure that you are storing some away for your later years. God is faithful and he always supplies what we need. It just may not look the way we think. He certainly gives as the need arises, but I also believe that he can give us words of wisdom to use what we have now for later!

Blessings in abundance!

Britnee Bradshaw is a free-spirited, Old Navy-wearin', coffee-shop lovin', wife and momma. She serves in the worship ministry with her husband at their home church in Glendale, AZ and writes with the sole purpose of pointing others to Christ. You can catch up with her on her blog or via social media @b_brdshw!

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