Do You Have Big Plans For The Future?
We live in a day and time when a big part of our money, time, and energy is devoted to preparing for the security of our futures. Just spend a little time watching television and you will see countless commercials prodding us to get the right 401(k) or IRA, so our “nest egg” will be nice and plump by the time we reach our golden years. It’s always good to be prepared for the future, and we would be irresponsible if we did not. If we do not make plans to support ourselves in the future, someone else will have to. However, just like with everything else in this world, we can go to extremes. We must be careful not to neglect the duties of the present because of anxiety about a future that may never come. It’s easy in today’s society to want to lay up treasures in all the wrong places.
Jesus taught about this very thing in the parable of the rich fool. The fool was apparently obsessed with storing up great possessions for his future. The rich fool said, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19). The fool had stored up his treasures in the wrong place, because God was going to require his soul that very night. Jesus stated in the parable that “God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20,21). We learn an important lesson from the parable. There is nothing wrong with preparing for the future, but we must have our priorities straight. Is it more important to lay up treasures on earth or in heaven? The fool was only concerned about here on earth. Are we spending more time preparing for our temporal future here on earth, or our eternal future in heaven with the Father?
We must also remember that we are not promised another day on this earth. James gave a warning to those who would say “today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit” (James 4:13). He went on to say, “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil” (James 4:14,15). Are we laying up spiritual treasures or worldly possessions? Let’s consider some questions we can ask ourselves to examine what our true motives are for our future.
1. Am I seeking to accomplish God’s will, or my will in the way I am preparing for my future? We must consider our true motives for the assets we set aside for the future. We should ask, “Am I keeping back from God now, so I can enjoy it on myself down the road?”
2. Am I seeking first the “kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33), or am I seeking first the kingdom of ___________________ (insert your name here)? We must remember the context Jesus was speaking of when He told us to seek first the kingdom of God. Jesus told us that by doing so, God would provide those essential things we need in life. It’s a matter of trust in God! When we neglect the work of the kingdom in the present, by going overboard on preparing for the future, we are showing a lack of faith in God’s providential care. -Ed