Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Retirement Savings: Is God in the Equation?

I watched the National Rally speech on Sunday from 8pm to 9.20pm, missing the last ten minutes. I thank God for PM Lee and he came across as a sincere, honest man and Singapore will do well under his stewardship and steady  hands. I have no qualms in engaging him as my financial planner if I ever needed one. There is only one statement I will take issue with - when God was mentioned as if He could do little for those in financial straits. By the grace of God, I am a living example of how God can help those who trust in Him. If I had worried about my retirement savings whether there will adequate savings for me in my old age or otherwise I would not have given up my legal practice. I would not have served the indigenous peoples of Borneo for 14 years if I did not trust God to provide for me financially. In the first 4 years of my work in church I lived on 5% of what I earned as a lawyer. Not possible humanly speaking but for every month, 48 months in all I can testify that God had provided extras for me on top of my salary. Even when I was not preaching and there was no honourarium, God used individuals to bless me financially. I once received a red-packet at my doorsteps with RM 500.00 in it and many miracles besides.
I did not even get on EPF (Employees' Provident Fund = CPF) until 1997 when I was Treasurer of SIB Sabah and cast the vision that all SIB workers should be paid EPF by local churches that employed them. Even then it was only a few hundred ringgit a month. When I was appointed pastor, my EPF did not increase by much and I joked with my friends that I must be the lowest-paid PhD holder in Malaysia. I took pride in that because the Lord I served took on the form of a servant, a poor artisan for that matter (See Luke Timothy Johnson's excellent book, Prophetic Jesus, Prophetic Church). I told my former employers in Singapore that they could let me go if I ever become a financially liability to the institution. But I know by God's grace I have been a blessing. All the courses I taught attracted many students. One night class in 2012 attracted 79 fee-paying students.
But unless I believe God will take care of me in retirement I will not be doing what I have been doing and continue doing by faith in this God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. This God is trustworthy. I have believed in him for over 32 years and He has done me no wrong but provided for all my needs. Recently I heard an elder prayed this prayer: "Lord we walk by faith and not by sight". I told him during lunch that indeed I have experienced what he prayed about. Having managed millions of ringgit for my denomination, I went to NZ with less than NZ$4,000.00 but I came back with a PhD. I can say like Paul the apostle, "My God is able to provide all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4). Even now I am enjoying my sabbatical, possibly year-long because in my 6th year of work, God has blessed me twofold. I can abound and I can suffer lack for I can do all things through Christ Jesus my Lord. God will help you in your retirement for even to your gray hairs, He will carry you until we meet Him in glory or in His glorious coming to judge the world and reward those who trust in Him.

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