Should Christians Save Money for the Future?

"Many well-meaning Christians firmly believe that saving or investing money to meet future needs is a failure to believe God."

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T Howard's picture

My father told me that when he went to Bible college back in the 60s and his father went to Bible college many years before, they were taught not to save for retirement because the rapture would surely happen before they retired and all their money would go to the antichrist. Instead, they should work hard for Jesus and trust in God for their provision as they grew older.

My parents are now in their 70s and are barely making it on social security because they didn't adequately save for retirement.

Another nail in the coffin of dispensationalism.

Bert Perry's picture

One thing that is often missing, IMO, in Christian financial advice is the reality that our support during retirement depends on the next generation.  So save money for the future?  Absolutely, but don't forget to have kids if you can, and to train people in the necessities of the Gospel throughout life.  Remember that the Church grew exponentially during Roman persecution because they took care of not only their own sick, but also the sick of the pagans.  We ought to emulate that example.

One side note; I fail to see how some people's failure to heed Matthew 24:36 undermines dispensationalism as a whole.  That's really more of a cheap shot than an argument.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TOvermiller's picture

T Howard wrote:

Another nail in the coffin of dispensationalism.

Though the 'don't save for retirement' advice is certainly unfortunate, and while people espousing dispensationalism have promoted some odd and outlandish ideas, something like this does not weaken a responsible, reasonable dispensational hermeneutic.

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | StudyGodsWord.com
Blog & Podcast | ShepherdThoughts.com

TOvermiller's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

...save money for the future? Absolutely, but don't forget to have kids if you can, and to train people in the necessities of the Gospel throughout life.

...I fail to see how some people's failure to heed Matthew 24:36 undermines dispensationalism as a whole.  That's really more of a cheap shot than an argument.

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree. While you should not depend on your children, teaching and training them to provide appropriate care in your old age is a very biblical principle.

And yes, I likewise agree that the Matt. 24:36 misinterpretation is definitely a cheap shot that proves nothing from a theological standpoint. Non-dispensational views have their own outlandish abberrations as well!

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | StudyGodsWord.com
Blog & Podcast | ShepherdThoughts.com

T Howard's picture

TOvermiller wrote:
Though the 'don't save for retirement' advice is certainly unfortunate, and while people espousing dispensationalism have promoted some odd and outlandish ideas, something like this does not weaken a responsible, reasonable dispensational hermeneutic.

Was there a "reasonable dispensational hermeneutic" in the 60s? From what I understand, the "don't save for retirement because of the rapture" was a pretty common teaching and sentiment among dispensationalists back then ... and among some even today.

 

http://time.com/money/3741614/end-times-rapture-financial-plan/

https://www.spreadshirt.com/rapture-is-my-retirement-plan-A11655810

 

kirkedoyle's picture

Yes.  Save for retirement.  Come up with a specific plan (you should probably use a financial advisor), start as early as possible, use conservative estimates, stick to it, reduce risk as you get closer to needing the money.  Scripture supports it, and my experience confirms it.  I work regularly with people at and beyond retirement age.  The mental and physical health of the people who saved even a little is remarkably different from those who did not.  

TOvermiller's picture

T Howard wrote:

 

TOvermiller wrote:

Though the 'don't save for retirement' advice is certainly unfortunate, and while people espousing dispensationalism have promoted some odd and outlandish ideas, something like this does not weaken a responsible, reasonable dispensational hermeneutic.

 

Was there a "reasonable dispensational hermeneutic" in the 60s? From what I understand, the "don't save for retirement because of the rapture" was a pretty common teaching and sentiment among dispensationalists back then.

Pretty common, perhaps. Every dispensationalist? Probably not. I won't comment any more on this particular line of discussion because I prefer to avoid broad-brushing theological movements, systems and perspectives if at all possible. I embrace what I trust is a "reasonable dispensational hermeneutic," and I recognize that not all that flies under the dispensationalist banner is created equal. The same would be true of other persuasions.

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | StudyGodsWord.com
Blog & Podcast | ShepherdThoughts.com

T Howard's picture

TOvermiller wrote:
Pretty common, perhaps. Every dispensationalist? Probably not. I won't comment any more on this particular line of discussion because I prefer to avoid broad-brushing theological movements, systems and perspectives if at all possible..

What other evangelical eschatological scheme has had as great an impact on Christians not saving for the future as premil dispensationalism? amill ? historic premil? post-mill? Nope.

Bert Perry's picture

T Howard wrote:

 

TOvermiller wrote:

Though the 'don't save for retirement' advice is certainly unfortunate, and while people espousing dispensationalism have promoted some odd and outlandish ideas, something like this does not weaken a responsible, reasonable dispensational hermeneutic.

 

Was there a "reasonable dispensational hermeneutic" in the 60s? From what I understand, the "don't save for retirement because of the rapture" was a pretty common teaching and sentiment among dispensationalists back then ... and among some even today.

 

http://time.com/money/3741614/end-times-rapture-financial-plan/

https://www.spreadshirt.com/rapture-is-my-retirement-plan-A11655810

 

No argument that some dispensationalists have done exactly what you said.  The question, however, is not whether some have done this, but rather whether it's a necessary conclusion of dispensational theology.  If we hold that dispensational theology is essentially literal, and that "no one knows the day or hour" is thus likely literally true, we would find that a good dispensational hermeneutic militates against the error you mention.

See the difference?  In the same way, Luther's essays against the Jews do not in themselves condemn all of Lutheran theology, nor does the theory of replacement theology sometimes found in covenant theology disprove all of that.  We would need to prove these bad effects were necessary and unforgiveable conclusions of that theology before doing so.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim's picture

http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/what-are-your-thoughts-on-preparin...

It seems to me that it's impossible to live one hour at a time: "I make my money for this hour, and I buy my bread and I eat it for this hour. I don't store up any money for 6 o'clock tonight." You can see where that's going. What about tomorrow? What about the next day?

I get paid once every two weeks, and I presume that's OK with the Lord to be paid once every two weeks instead of daily, even though it means that I have to save some of that to buy my food ten days from now. It's not unbelief on my part to keep some money in the bank so that ten days from now I will be able to buy food, rather than spending or giving away all of my money on my payday and then trusting God that ten days from now he will cause there to be an envelope in the mail with just enough money to go out and buy a hamburger that afternoon. He doesn't want us to live that way.

The New Testament is clear that we should let the thief no longer steal, but let him labor with his hands that he may have to give to him who is in need and not to be dependent on anybody else (Ephesians 4:28). And so we should earn a living and pay.

Now the question is: What about a year from now, or two years, or ten years? What about retirement?

In our country retirement is pressed on us, especially in some vocations. If you're working in a factory you're going to be out at 65, probably, and what will you do? So I think that structurally our culture requires that you need to plan for retirement. I don't think that's a bad thing.

I don't think putting away money so that you can live a modest lifestyle in retirement is bad. And I don't think it's wrong to have a measure of life insurance so that, if you die, whoever you're responsible for will be taken care of.

Steve Newman's picture

There are many in churches who feel that it is wrong for churches to save money. After all, God gave that money and wants it to be used! Does your church work off "cash basis" accounting, or are there responsible saving/investing opportunities?

T Howard's picture

Bert Perry wrote:
If we hold that dispensational theology is essentially literal, and that "no one knows the day or hour" is thus likely literally true, we would find that a good dispensational hermeneutic militates against the error you mention.

Except that it didn't and still doesn't in some circles... And there's the rub.

Bert Perry's picture

T Howard wrote:

 

Bert Perry wrote:

If we hold that dispensational theology is essentially literal, and that "no one knows the day or hour" is thus likely literally true, we would find that a good dispensational hermeneutic militates against the error you mention.

 

Except that it didn't and still doesn't in some circles... And there's the rub.

 

No, there's the hasty generalization.  Just because some circles make the error--as some covenant theologians become anti-Semitic--does not mean the whole theology is wrong.  It means some people make an error.  Be very careful of hasty generalizations!

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

JD Miller's picture

Pr 21:20 There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man swallows it up.
 (NASB)

Eph 4:28 Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need. (NASB)

 

Ephesians 4:28 tells us to work so that we have extra to share with others.  How can we have that extra to share if we do not save it?  

 

In regard to depending on your children to take care of you, consider 2Co 12:14, "Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children."  (NASB)

 

 

 

TOvermiller's picture

My understanding of 2 Cor. 12:14 is that, in context, Paul is referring to little children - that is, dependents. If I am correct, he is not implying that adult children should not provide care for their elderly parents. 1 Tim. 5:4 seems to corroborate this, and 1 Tim. 5:8 seems to emphasize it.

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | StudyGodsWord.com
Blog & Podcast | ShepherdThoughts.com