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Welcome I often come up with some strange and perplexing ideas and questions when I’m in the middle of my personal Bible study time. I was recently reading the Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke, chapter twelve. As I read, I kept asking, “Does God not want us to save money?” Let’s take a look at the verses here.
Today’s Scriptures Our passage today is taken from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, used by permission.
Luke 12:16-21 “And he told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, “I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Food For Thought In the past six months my husband and I have been scrutinizing our retirement plans, looking toward the future regarding our child’s post-high school education along with provisions for our “golden years.” Neither of us have reached the 50-year mark, but we know things have changed since I quit my job a little over a year ago. Terminating my teaching career at the 18-year mark will result in getting, at best, half of the retirement I would have received. It can be depressing, if I let myself think about it too much. But we knew this would be a downside of me quitting.
So, looking at our current circumstances, our hopes and plans for the future, we’ve had to come up with alternative savings and investment strategies. It was following one of our financial discussions that I was drawn to this parable in Luke. Of course, my husband and I aren’t trying to store crops or commodities, but we know the gist of the passage. It has to do with our resources and in our case that means MONEY.
I’ve got to be honest, I kinda like what the rich fool says in verse 19. I kinda like the idea of relaxing, eating and being merry. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live like that, especially after working for years and “earning it?” In fact, my husband and I dream fearlessly about retiring to a little cabin in the mountains where we can live out our final days overlooking the beautiful Smokey or Blue Ridge mountains. Not only is a daily job absent from that fantasy (after all, we have waterfalls to chase!), but it takes MONEY to make that dream become a reality.
And I don’t have to tell anyone how expensive it is to get old these days. Health insurance alone can ruin the average American’s retirement plans. Then there are medications and doctor visits. Taxes for things like paying off your mortgage and moving. So all of our worldly reason tells us to get as much as we can, money-wise, right now, and save it up for these events in the not-so-distant future.
Then I look at passages like these verses about the Rich Fool and I feel incredibly guilty and somewhat sinful. My heart keeps wanting to know if saving money is wrong. God is certainly providing for our family to have all of our basic needs met right now. Will he continue to do so in the future? Or is saving what we have now the means He will use to provide for us later? These are certainly the times when I wish I had it all figured out. These are the times when I wish God could literally speak to me and say, “Look, this is what you need to do to please me and also lead a fulfilling life.” But we all know very well that’s not how it works.
I still can’t answer with certainty what my husband and I should do regarding our savings and retirement plans. But I did reread verse 21 several times. I think the key to understanding the passage may be in these words. “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Maybe saving is not the problem, necessarily. Maybe the key is that we must FIRST and ALWAYS be rich toward God. It is His, after all. Maybe if we prioritize using our money for God and furthering His Kingdom and good works, we can still receive blessings of our own in this area. I don’t know for sure. I’m just trying to make sense of all the conflict I have regarding MONEY and how to live in this world and NOT BE of this world. I keep feeling a pull between wanting to have no emotional ties to money so that I can lead a more spiritual life and the reality that the things my family needs (and wants) require money. And I’m not even talking about big houses, fancy cars, or expensive clothes. I’m talking just about living our average, boring lives.
Almost everyone I know has at least a small savings. In today’s world, if you don’t have a moderate savings you are called “foolish.” I understand the need for this nest egg. So is saving wrong? I’d love to hear other Christian perspectives on this question.
Today’s Recipe Of course we want to be good stewards with the money we do have, so there’s nothing wrong with having a budget. Following a household budget became a must this past year and I’m pleased to say we are much more wise with the use of our finances. There are a lot of factors that have gone into this development, but a significant step was cutting back on the grocery expenses. Today’s recipe uses a few of my favorite budgeting tricks. It’s a pasta-based dinner because pasta is CHEAP. It uses very little meat because most grocery bills go up with the amount of meat purchased. We are definitely eating less meat these days, but that’s not a bad thing. Stretching the dinner across two meals helps, also. This meal works for a BIG family or you can get two dinners from one pot for the average family. This meal is a veggie overload, too, so we’re getting more nutrition bang for our buck.
Roast Vegetable and Sausage Penne
- 1/2 head cauliflower
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled
- 3 large carrots, peeled
- 2 large bell peppers (I like to use red and orange, but you can use any variety.)
- 1 medium zucchini
- 4 oz. white mushrooms, brushed clean
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 16 oz. penne rigate pasta
- 1/2 TBS olive oil
- 10 oz. spicy Italian sausage links (I used chicken sausage in my recipe.)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Set oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Prepare the vegetables. Cut the cauliflower into florets. Cut the onion into large slices. Cut carrots into 1-inch pieces. Cut each bell pepper into 10-12 strips. Cut the zucchini into 1-inch pieces. Halve the mushrooms. Place all of the vegetables in a large bowl.
Pour olive oil over the vegetables and toss to coat. Add herbs and spices (next six ingredients) and toss to coat. Pour all of the vegetables onto prepared pan and spread evenly. Roast vegetables at 425 degrees for 40 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to full boil. Once water is boiling, add pasta and reduce heat to medium. Cook pasta 10-12 minutes or until tender.
Add a half tablespoon of olive oil to large skillet and heat over medium heat. Slice sausage links into half-inch rounds. When oil is hot, add to skillet and cook 2-3 minutes. Turn sausage over and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain pasta and return to pan.
Dump all of the roast vegetables and cooked sausage into the pot with the pasta. Stir to combine all ingredients. Add the mozzarella and continue to toss gently until all of the cheese has melted.
Today’s Useful Products from Amazon (These are all products I actually used in the preparation of today’s recipe.)