I got a lovely note from our pension fund a while ago that got me thinking. I ‘freaked’ a little bit and said to Linda these prophetic words “We are never going to retire!” She calmed me down and said this statement did not reflect our total retirement income.
Retirement is a relatively new invention and in the annals, of history may be a short lived experiment. As I reflect on my moment of panic I realise that I thought that my security lays in accumulating wealth despite the Gospel admonition not to store up treasures on earth; instead I am adjured to store up treasures in heaven. In my most carnal moments I pose two questions to this. 1) What does this look like in practical terms? And 2) what happens to me when I am unable to work?
I have come to believe what I have been preaching. In developing our program for “The Decade of Evangelism” in the 90’s (a friend suggested a ‘decade of evangelism’ for a church is akin to Ford having a decade for making cars.), we taught the importance of relationships. There are only a few things that are eternal: God, His Word, people and love. Our program was designed to encourage a priority on these eternals. The key to storing up things in heaven likely involves making these eternal or heaven bound things priorities!
The key to my security is then not in my frightening pension income but in God and in the richness of relationships I have!
All this descended on me in utter clarity last night during a lovely dinner and conversation with friends. I was sharing about Street Hope and the small beginnings we are planning. I was asked as the conversation warmed what my ‘big dream’ would be. I responded from my heart without stopping to think and said “I would like to live in a house, in community, with my friends of Street Hope/ Up Town. I want to care for them and have them care for me and each other. I want to create a safe place where we can seek God together and grow in His wholeness, and when that place gets crowded I want to buy the place next door!”
This all came tumbling out and we all felt this was a ‘God dream’. I still believe in small beginnings but I also have high hopes. I think that is as it should be for a community called Street Hope.
I think, too, that such a rich dream may be my answer to the two carnal questions. In practical terms storing up treasurers in Heaven means cultivating rich relationship with folks on the streets of Saint John, relationships centred around the God who loves us. It involves a community caring for one another through all the stages of life, which will mean when I am too feeble to contribute anything but prayer and I hope by then some wisdom, that our community will care for me. This is God’s economy! It is a re-firement plan!