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Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by SaggyWoman, Jul 14, 2007.
Be honest. No one sees you choices, only your comments afterwards.
I am willing to disclose that I checked "do well to live within my budget". That refers to my years as a pastor. When I reached age 66 and began to tell my people I was going to retire, and when they asked why (since my health appeared to be quite good), one of (not the only one) the reasons I gave was that I could not afford NOT to! My pension and my wife's (she had worked part-time for about 20 years) and our combined Social Security incomes would constitute about a $6000 per annum raise over the church's salary! So in a sense I needed to retire in order to meet the budget.
Since then, happily, I have also been able to take on a part-time ministry and to earn added income from supply preaching, seminary teaching, etc. I think of myself as in a make-up mode now, trying to establish my financial security for older old age, since I could not do it in my middle-age years.
Oh, by the way, when my church called my successor they paid about $20,000 more in salary than they paid me! I should have resigned somewhere along the way and then applied for the position! (Just joking, no pious canards, please!)
Seems some positive options would be in order.
I never had a credit card in my life until two years ago. On furlough we decided that if we retired from the field someday we might want a credit rating so that we could buy a house, and we had no credit rating in the States. (We can't buy a house in Japan since missionaries are not allowed permanent residency and you have to have that to get a bank loan.)
We have found that in the absolute worst circumstances we've ever had over here (when the dollar weakened to 76 yen per dollar, though it was over 230/dollar when we came to Japan), God took care of us in a wonderful way, and we had no debt whatsoever (and have never had and still do not have any debt--we buy cars with cash from an account of ours at the mission board). Among other things, an American military church near Yokosuka Naval Base gave us food showers.
For retirement, we have Social Security and just a few thousand dollars of retirement funds (maybe enough for one year). We'll use that as a down payment for a home if we retire from the field some day. I don't plan to retire from the ministry, just from the field. I'd like to teach missions somewhere then.
Are we worried? Absolutely not. God takes care of His own far better than any retirement fund could. My father preached the Gospel for 60 years and had virtually nothing when he retired (after about 50 years). But here is what God did for him.
This is an absolutely true story. My brother (the most brilliant man I ever knew) rebelled against the Lord and Dad, and became a radical agitator against the war in Viet Nam, particularly at U of Wis. Madison. Later he joined a Maoist group working to overthrow the US government. (Ask the FBI.... ) He eventually left the Maoists and decided that was a dead end.
My brother worked something over 40 different jobs. But get this. His last job was for a little Seattle company you may have heard of: Microsoft. He was the editor of their Windows developers journal, and ended up as one of the team who put MS on the Internet. ("If I'm lyin' I'm dyin'," as Jerry Clower used to say.) He retired young as a millionaire, and is now a philanthropist and movie producer ("Voices in Wartime"). During that time he renewed ties with the family and began taking care of Dad and Mom. He bought them a house and took care of them, and then after Dad died he took care of Mom, and nowadays has her in the nicest retirement community I've ever seen.
Then here is my grandparents' story. Grandpa Rice also preached the Gospel for 60 years. He bought his Tennessee property in about 1962 for a song ($25,000 or so). They put I-24 across the corner of his property, which gave him a tidy sum. When he died Grandma was well taken care of. When she died they sold the property for $1,000,000, and my parents and aunts and uncles all were taken care of in retirement. You can now exit I-24 at Murfreesboro, TN, head away from town and take a right onto John R. Rice Blvd. and drive past the Sam's Club which is now where I used to play with my cousins!
To quote Jerry Clower again, "Ain't God good?" :type:
I freely admit I've had trouble. It wasn't because I mismanaged my money. In fact, my savings are what held me up. I was laid off last year and had the worst trouble finding a real job after that. I just started (last Friday was one week) a new job in downtown Houston that I really like.
Even as down as I was, just doing odd-and-end jobs to barely get me along, I would have been up a creek without several family members helping me out during that time.
I praise God that he has lifted me back up and really restored my confidence. I am now making quite a bit more money than I was at the job I was laid off from, and the company is so much more laidback and a friendlier atmosphere. The work is enjoyable and fairly simple.
I have always been "tight" with my money. I am very thankful about that after going through what I did. Now I begin the process of paying back my obligations to my family. I am so blessed to have them in my life.
I encourage people to save, save, save. Make wise investments as well, but do not tie up your money so you can't touch it for certain periods. I did not know I had been laid off until the instant I was told to box up and leave. You never know when something like that will happen, so plan for it anyway.
I am glad we have a God who provides for us in our times of need and will see us through the rough times.