So how’s your heavenly retirement plan looking these days? How big has your nest egg grown up there in heaven?
These are questions we never hear believers ask one another; unlike the way we ask the same type of questions about our earthly retirement plans and activities. But the cold hard truth is that just as we need to have a retirement plan in place here on earth, we need to have one in heaven as well, and the heavenly one is by far more important that the earthly one because no matter how long an earthly retirement period (the years between retirement and death) might last, the heavenly one will last for eternity!
One crucial understanding that every believer must have is that we were placed on this earth to work for a period of time, then go to heaven to dwell, therefore, to retire. If you can allow this understanding to guide your life, you will be able to plan for your ‘heavenly retirement’ the same way you would plan your earthly one. It’s sad enough that most people fail to even plan for their earthly retirement; what a tragedy then, that most believers fail to plan for their much anticipated home-going to heaven!
Just as we must ask ourselves how we will meet our financial needs after we’ve grown too old to work, we must wonder how we will fend for ourselves in heaven. The problem is that we have this general belief that in heaven, there will be no need for anything. Wrong. The truth is that we don’t really know how things work in heaven, but the Lord Jesus has told us some things about heaven, so whatever understanding we must have of heaven must come from what the Lord has told us, and here are some of the statements He has made about heaven:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21, KJV)
“Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:33,34, KJV)
So the Lord has made it clear that we ought to lay up treasures for ourselves in heaven. Why would that be? Of what use would the treasures be to us in heaven, other than for us to make use of it up there? So if we will need to make use of treasures up in heaven, that means there will be need to make transactions in heaven. So things will not be free up there after all. Let’s remember that God modeled life on earth after the way things are in heaven, but without the evil that we have on earth.
Here on earth we save up money for retirement because during the retirement period, we have for the most part ceased all income-generating activities, which tends to limit our ability to make ends meet. Now the tricky thing about being retired is that no one knows how long one might stay alive in retirement until death comes calling. So if an individual saved up enough money to last him five years, but gets to stay alive for 10 more years, those can be very harsh 10 years. For this reason we are encouraged to work hard at saving as much money as possible for our eventual period of retirement, since we have no idea how long it will last. Using this same logic, shouldn’t our highly-anticipated heavenly retirement be an even greater concern to us, since we know for a fact that it will be for eternity?!?
This is why in each of the statements the Lord made above, He ended by saying “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also“, in order to stress the need for us to be more concerned with the treasure that we accumulate in heaven more than the earthly one. Because our retirement to heaven should matter to us far more than our retirement on earth.
Imagine that a man figures out that when he retires, he’s going to be spending $50,000 a year on living expenses. If he decides to save up for 20 years of retirement period, that comes to $1,000,000. With this in mind, everything he does in life will be geared towards realizing this $1,000,000 goal! Whatever amount of this money he manages to accumulate becomes a treasure that he would think of and cherish every waking moment, and would do everything to protect and grow. The Lord is telling us to have this attitude towards our heavenly retirement instead! In fact that is what the entire chapter of Luke 12 is all about. (Please take a moment and read the entire chapter).
In Luke 12 we’re told about a man who had succeeded in accumulating a great treasure for himself on earth, and decided one day that he had amassed enough to live on like a king for the rest of his life. That night, God took his life, and he ended up having done all that hard work for naught. The point of the parable is not that the man should not have amassed a fortune to enjoy here on earth. Rather it was that he had only concerned himself with gathering an earthly treasure, and totally ignored the fact that there’s a place called heaven, where God dwells, and where he would have to go back to. And because he had failed to be mindful of heaven, he failed to engage in the activities that would have earned him treasures in heaven. He failed to serve God while he was alive. God called the man ‘foolish’. And the opposite of foolish is wise. Proverbs 11:30 says:
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.“ (KJV)
What’s wise about winning souls? It’s the fact that soul-winning is the means for us to gather treasures in heaven! It is the means by which we get paid in heaven! As we serve the kingdom of God here on earth, we earn wages both here on earth and in heaven, and it is the ones we earn in heaven that are gathered up as treasures for us to enjoy when we retire to heaven.
So again I ask, what’s wise about winning souls? Imagine the rich man in Luke 12 going to heaven to find nothing in his heavenly account. But he sees a man who is enjoying a serious amount of treasure up there. As he looks closer, he recognizes the man as someone he had known on earth, who had spent his time on earth doing the Lord’s work winning souls for the kingdom. Which of the two men was wiser?
The Lord asked me one day “those mansions that I said I’m going to build for you in heaven, what do you think I would be building them with?” I replied that I did not know. He said that it is the treasures that we accumulate in heaven that He uses to build them. Meaning that as we serve in His kingdom here on earth, we earn wages in heaven, and from those wages he builds our mansions for us in preparation for our retirement to heaven. Needless to say, that blew my mind!!!
Here’s a story I always share to illustrate this: Many Africans who live abroad work hard in order to send money to their home countries to build houses for themselves. When I was living in Nigeria, a cousin of mine who lived in Germany came home one day, expecting to find a fully-built and furnished house waiting for him. He had been working hard and borrowing money to send to one of our uncles to build and furnish a house for him. But when he came home, there was no house, just an empty lot with the foundations of a house. That’s an example of a man who tried to lay up treasure for himself here on earth, and the treasure was stolen from him. Had he endeavored instead to lay up all that treasure in heaven by investing all that hard-earned money into the work of the kingdom, he would have given the Lord the resources to build him a mansion in heaven. And the Lord would not have cheated him!
As in the parable of the rich man in Luke 12, the point of this real life story is not that we shouldn’t build houses for ourselves here on earth. It’s just an illustration of how we can get our priorities all screwed up, for lack of wisdom.
This is why the Lord admonished: “…Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth…”
In order to successfully save up for retirement, the principle of ‘deferred pleasure’ must be applied. One must deny oneself some pleasures in order to, instead, put away the money that would have been spent on that pleasure. Likewise must we deny ourselves some pleasures here on earth in other to send the money up to heaven instead, by spending that money on the work of the kingdom. For example, before setting out to build yourself an expensive dream house here on earth, have you considered what your mansion in heaven looks like? Even if you get to live in your earthly dream house for years, that will still be nothing compared to the fact that you will have to live in whatever you end up with in heaven for eternity. So let’s be wise and prioritize well. Let’s be busy sowing seeds into our heavenly treasure by financing the kingdom and by giving alms to the needy. Haven’t you read that“… Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” (Proverbs 19:17, NIV). Instead of wasting our hard-earned substances on things that will eventually prove futile, let’s be wise and ‘lend’ them to the Lord. He pays back with heavenly interests!
Therefore, it is imperative that we truly submit EVERYTHING we own unto God and let Him guide every facet of our lives. Only He can help us spend our resources in the best and most profitable ways, and help us maximize our treasures in heaven. So brethren, I URGE YOU TO TAKE A MOMENT AND PONDER THIS ISSUE VERY CONSCIOUSLY! Allow the Lord to ingrain in your consciousness the fact that all this is very real. If you’re somebody who has taken the time to consider the fact that you will retire one day from the work you’re doing and that you need to have a retirement plan in place, then it should be easy for you to understand how crucial it is for you to work even harder on your eventual retirement to heaven.
There are 4 major types of retirees:
- Those who planned for retirement and worked on saving up for it.
- Those who didn’t plan and didn’t save anything.
- Those who didn’t plan, but were simply fortunate to have made a lot of money, and retired well.
- Those who planned and tried, but simply couldn’t save up a lot.
So it is in heaven. Most believers have never thought about these matters at all. Therefore in heaven we find the following kinds of believers:
- Those who worked hard for the kingdom and built great treasures for themselves.
- Those who didn’t work for the kingdom at all.
- Those who worked, but not much at all.
- Those who worked hard, but not in the ways or in the areas God wanted them to serve Him.
You will agree with me that if those who had failed to work hard had known that their service would earn them treasures in heaven, they most likely would had have tried to do better. For this reason, LIFE IN RETIREMENT IS NOT SOMETHING TO BE LEFT TO CHANCE. Rather we must consciously work on setting ourselves up as best as possible for our retirements here on earth and in heaven.
Therefore, as you would sit down with a financial consultant to help and guide you in planning your earthly retirement, you need to go to the Lord and let Him show you where and how He has planned for you to serve in His kingdom. NO MATTER WHAT YOUR OCCUPATION MAY BE, THERE IS A WAY FOR YOU TO SERVE GOD IN THIS WORLD. And if you can’t serve Him in deeds, serve Him in kind! REMEMBER THAT NOTHING YOU ACHIEVE HERE ON EARTH IS WORTH IT IF IT STANDS IN THE WAY OF YOUR ACHIEVING SUCCESS IN HEAVEN! No treasure or good life that you can create for yourself here on earth is worth it if it prevents you from creating a treasure and a good life for yourself in heaven! BE WISE ABOUT THIS!
I will close by pointing out once again that the Lord repeated the phrase “…For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” because it is a strong urging from the Lord for us to be more mindful of our heavenly treasure than of our earthly one. I pointed out earlier that a man who has a retirement plan will cherish and protect his nest egg more ferociously than a hen would protect her nest. The Lord is admonishing us to have this attitude even more towards our heavenly nest egg. This doesn’t mean that our motive for wanting to serve Him should be based on the rewards we receive in heaven, but He’s simply urging us not to make the mistake of neglecting the treasures that we accumulate in heaven, BECAUSE WE WILL NEED IT TO LIVE when we get up there!!!
The work abounds in God’s vineyard, and the harvest has been ripe, waiting for laborers! Be that laborer and watch God faithfully bless you here on earth and in heaven!