Advice From a Pensioner
Posted in Disappointment
Scripture: “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. And thereby put Me to the test… and see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Malachi 3: 8-10
When I retired and became a “pensioner,” my wife and I went through a planning process as it relates to the financial aspects of stewardship. I don’t like that term, “pensioner,” as it makes me feel my age, but it is a good shorthand for when salary and employee benefits cease and limited fixed income begins.
We had planned, broadly, for retirement, but now it was time to see which expenditures we could cut back or eliminate so we could maintain the lifestyle we had enjoyed prior to retirement. Some things were easy and some things required a great deal of soul searching and prayer. For us, the financial aspect of stewardship was by far the most important consideration we faced.
We knew how vital stewardship is to the mission of Eastminster, having been members for over 30 years. But we also knew that we had to cut back somewhere. After many years of committed service to the church, why shouldn’t we just leave it to others to pick up the slack?
But that thinking didn’t sit well with us. What were these thoughts saying about our character, our priorities – lifestyle versus stewardship? What about God; what was he thinking about our thoughts? He knows our status well. Would he be disappointed in the direction we were contemplating — would he be disappointed in me?
For 82 years, God has watched over me in good times and not so good. Despite some ups and downs, he enabled us to create modest wealth from his resources, wealth I might add that we both knew well belongs to him.
We recalled a study of Malachi, in which he admonishes us not to rob God of what is due him, not to hold back his tithes and offerings.
Still, we wondered what the effect a reduction in our giving would have on the church. Probably not much, we thought, as we are only one couple, but what if our example became the trend? What if the refrain heard frequently became, “I have my lifestyle to worry about; I’ll let someone else fulfill my obligations to the church.” What effect would that have on the work of the church – on our missions and local outreach programs, on our benevolences, on and on? What a scary thought indeed.
Those thoughts settled the issue for us. Our responsibilities and obligations to God’s Church have not decreased nor has our obligation to help further God’s Kingdom on this earth. Since retirement, my wife and I have found a way to increase our giving to the church. Doesn’t everyone have the obligation to give in proportion to what God has given each of us?
Prayer: Lord, You have blessed me beyond measure. Thank You for giving us Eastminster, which has been our place of worship, place of study, place of fellowship, and our place of Hope. Help us remember our responsibility to give back a portion of Your gifts for Kingdom work. Amen.
Submitted by Bill Bobo (Excerpts from his sermon on October 21, 2018)