IRA or ERA for us?

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
As we travel down the path of life, each of us must peruse the facts as we know them, seen wise counsel, and use our own best judgment as to how we spend the time and resources we have been given on earth. Some folks appear to worry and fret so much that they don’t seem to enjoy the hours and days that make up their earthly life.

Others are overly concerned about coming out on top or winning that they think nothing of hurting others or mowing down anyone that should get in their way. Scheming and scamming, these one dimensional people must come in at No.1 in everything, or be highly disappointed.

Christians, in my opinion, have a deeper responsibility to invest more wisely in the future, based on the Word of God. We are given instructions in several specific Scriptures about laying up our treasure in Heaven as opposed to here on earth. The Book of Philippians is an exhortation by Paul to the church members on the joy of giving.

Some Christians give in organized corporate giving through the church tithes and offerings, perhaps in a building program, or toward the spreading of missions. I wonder in my heart at times if they give cheerfully, as the Bible commands, or is the giving done in order to be well thought of by man or to gain approval of the church leaders?

Do we understand the joy that comes in freely giving to others? Are we ever willing to give sacrificially? Do we know about the Lord’s special blessing on those that give with pure motive?

Our sermon this morning dealt with IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) and ERAs (Eternal Retirement Accounts), their differences, and their blessings. We are aware that our church membership consists of people from all walks of life. Many have well thought out retirement and savings accounts. Others have no bank account.

Our church has recently undertaken a six and a half million dollar building program to provide more space in which to bring others into our midst. Our people understand tithing and are wonderful givers. We support 76 missionaries around the world in an effort to reach those who do not know about God. We reach boys and girls through bus ministry and teaching. Our adults have many programs in which to engage.

We encourage our people to plan wisely and to provide for their families. But, the pastor emphasized in the message that if they were only going to be concerned about one kind of giving, to please let that be the one with eternal rewards.

Will our action help to ensure someone else will hear the gospel or will it be for personal fun or entertainment? Are our hearts pricked when we see someone that has a real need or are we so calloused that we no longer care? If we know a child does not have school clothes or supplies, does it matter to us? If a family is hungry, can we eat in glee and party hearty?

It is not about the amount we share. It is about the motive with which we give. Jesus thought it important to record the story of the widow’s mite, or 2 cents, in today’s culture. She gave of what she had.

Let’s look at our lives and our resources as we travel life’s pathway. Are we willing to share and make investments in our ERAs? Those gifts do help to change the lives of those to whom we give, but clearly, they also change us.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at 409 781-8788, or
[email protected]


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