Monday, February 13, 2017

How's Your IRA Doing?

For most of us, saving for retirement is a significant part of our financial planning. Since company pension plans are mostly a thing of the past, we use Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) as the primary vehicle for amassing enough assets to build a nest egg.  Saving and planning are very good and biblical practices. Even ants are commended for their diligence in storing food during the harvest so they have something to eat out of season!  That said, here's a suggestion for another kind of IRA that should capture our attention to a much greater degree - an Inspired Revelation Account.

Proverbs 3:13-18
Blessed are those who find wisdom,
    those who gain understanding,

for she is more profitable than silver
    and yields better returns than gold.

She is more precious than rubies;
    nothing you desire can compare with her.

Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.

Her ways are pleasant ways,
    and all her paths are peace.

She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
    those who hold her fast will be blessed.
Things to think about:

  • We’re told to pursue wisdom and understanding more than silver, gold, or rubies. As noted above, a diligent person works and saves. So the point here is not that money in and of itself is bad. That said (and this merits its own study), being overly focused on money is not a good thing:
    • Matthew 6:21 - where your treasure is, there also is your heart
    • 1Timothy 6:10 The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil
    • Ecclesiastes 5:10 - Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. 
    • What advice would you give someone who is hyper-focused on making money?
  • In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus tells us not to worry about having our needs met if we seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first
  • In The Message in Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 we read, "After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live.
    • are you satisfied with your lot? Why or why not?
  • And yet, God has something much, much more valuable for us if we will seek it
  • Wisdom and Understanding
    • Wisdom - in verse 19 of Proverbs 3, it says that “by wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations...”
      • we are on firm ground when we have God’s wisdom. This is found in His Word where He gives us instruction for living in accordance with his will.
      • Psalm 37:23-24  - The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
    • Understanding - in the second part of Proverbs 3:19 we find, “by understanding He set the heavens in place.”
      • From the heavens come light, and light produces illumination and revelation
      • Psalm 119:105 will be familiar to many of you, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
      • Ephesians 1:17-18 - "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people…”
  • How do we get wisdom and understanding?
    • Proverbs 2:3-4  - "if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure…”
      • Calling out and crying aloud = PRAY
        • James 1:5 gives us a promise if we will - "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."
      • Search for it as hidden treasure - where can we search?
        • Bible, Bible teachers (church, radio, internet, books)
        • do you find your intentionality growing as you mature in the faith?
  • What kind of return does God promise if we pursue wisdom and understanding?
    • Blessing (vv. 13, 18)
    • Nothing you desire can compare to it v.15
    • Long life v.16
    • Riches and honor v.16
    • Pleasant ways, paths of peace v.17
    • Tree of Life v.18
      • how have you experienced one or more of these?
  • He will make deposits in your account
    • Proverbs 2:10 - Wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul
    • Can you describe how biblical wisdom has given you a pleasantness in your soul?
  • He will keep you from losses
    • Proverbs 12:11-16
      • Evil men
      • the adulteress 
  • So what does life with God’s IRA look like?
    • Psalm 37:18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care and their inheritance will endure forever. 
      • And you can take that to the bank!

No comments:

Post a Comment