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Ask Chuck: Retirement Dilemma: Save or Tithe?

Ask Chuck: Retirement Dilemma: Save or Tithe?


Click here to ask Chuck your money question

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here.Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Dear Chuck,

Both my husband and I grew up with parents now living on a pension; thus, no real need to have "saved" that half a million bucks for retirement. This seems to be a new need for my generation. But beside that frustration, my real question is about the balance for someone in saving that much and giving to the Lord. Do I give to the Lord (a tithe) or save, especially considering a tight budget, and the large amounts needed later? Where is the fine line of trusting in the Lord for our future provision and providing for ourselves through savings, which could actually slide into relying on our money instead of God? It seems that this is a modern day dilemma, since the older generation never had to have such a huge savings account.

Pondering the Lack of Pensions

Chuck Bentley is the CEO of Crown, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late, Larry Burkett.

Dear Pondering,

Thank you for an excellent question. You have asked how to balance the commands to both give and save while fully trusting God. Many of us feel this same tension so I appreciate the opportunity to address it.

Let's start with your question about giving. I believe each one of us should tithe, (give 10% of our gross annual income), as we remember and acknowledge all that we have belongs to God and comes from God.

Think of it like this: Many parents have given their children money when a child wants to buy the parent a gift, perhaps for Christmas or a birthday. The child wants to make a loving gesture, but the resources come from the parents. The money we all have comes from God, and we show him respect by giving a little back.

Proverbs 3:9 says, "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops."

In tithing, we demonstrate our honor for the Lord and share His resources so His kingdom will advance. I view it as the highest and best priority for the use of money. It should be a non-negotiable part of the Christian's budget.

Now about the balance of giving and saving. Once we have made a decision to actually tithe, we should develop a budget that allows us to consistently save. Obviously, saving large amounts may not be possible, especially as you start out as a family. However, the important part is to develop the habit of saving something and then increase the amount as you are able.

Crown has some wonderful free tools to help you think through your resources. You can also learn more about how to manage your finances with Crown's Money Map. Once you have the math in front of you, it's easier to make choices.

Ours is not the first generation to grapple with how to grow old. In Biblical times, the family was the retirement plan.

Deuteronomy 5:16 "Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you."

That kind of honor included financial help in old age.

Consider 1 Timothy 5:4,8: "But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God ... But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

I'm not suggesting that you move in with your children, but simply want to point out that there are folks who rely on support from family. Plus, there are creative alternatives when you have not been able to save the amounts the experts recommend for retirement. For instance, I just read that moving into a trailer park has become a booming business in Florida as seniors have come to appreciate the lively, more interactive community that these parks provide. Some families relocate to very low cost of living cities to make what they have saved stretch further. Some extend their careers longer or find part time jobs to supplement their income.

Saving is important, but not as a substitute for faith in God.

Hebrews 13:5 reminds us to "keep our lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have ..."

I think this means we must be guarded against placing our confidence or security in money. The verse goes on to give the reason why.

"Because I (Jesus), will never leave you or forsake you."

Money will leave us but Jesus never will; therefore, always totally trust God whether you have a lot of savings or very little.

Crown's founder, the late Larry Burkett put it like this, "The way one uses money is the outward reflection of a person's inward spiritual condition."

When our hearts are faithful and our hands are disciplined, we can balance the command to give and to save. You and I can save and give and totally trust God, all at the same time. These are not contradictory objectives. In fact, the Lord instructed us to do both.

Blessings to you and your family as you put your plans in place to prepare for retirement.

If you're looking for a little encouragement in the year ahead, please accept this gift from Crown. You can receive practical principles and daily encouragement from God's Word in the God is Faithful devotional, sent straight to your inbox to consider what God has to say about our daily life.

To #Ask Chuck @AskCrown your own question, click here.

Chuck Bentley is the CEO of Crown, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late, Larry Burkett. He is an author, host of My MoneyLife- a daily radio feature and a frequent speaker on the topic of Biblical financial principles. Follow him on Twitter @chuckbentley and visit Crown.org for more help.

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