Friday, July 1, 2011

Are you planning your retirement?

This advertisement gives an age-old message. One that is often hard to hear in the noise of the world we live in! (HT: Challies)


  1. Thanks Arpit! To me, the ad doesn't appear complete as it doesn't talk about what's next. Also, he sounds quite angry... Can't understand why. And we have to wait till August 31st to find out???

  2. Hi NRIG, Actually I just wanted to share the thought - not to advertise the meeting on the 31st in Sydney where John Piper and John Lennox will be speaking (I guess!!)

  3. I don't get it.

    What exactly is the message here? Are they saying that there is something wrong in having a nice house, a nice car, a nice family, a shell collection and a boat? What does that have to do with God? Should people not aspire to a better quality of life? Does that automatically make them bad human beings? Does it make them lose touch with their Maker? Should they die paupers for God to accept them?

    To my knowledge, the two aren't mutually exclusive. Where do you think philanthropists get their money from? Who do you think donates money to the Church, the temples and the mosques? People need to make money before they can give it away. Is a man expected to make a killing on the stock market, starve his own children and feed the poor in Africa by sending them all his earnings?

    Unless I've got the whole thing completely wrong, that's the biggest load of cr** I've heard. Pardon my French.

    - The Black Mamba

  4. Heehee!! Good to see the old vitriolic TBM back - I was wondering if I was becoming too sterile having not heard from you in some time!! Well, this time I can say you are right - you've got the whole thing completely wrong!! And here's why.

    The message here is NOT that a nice house, car, boat, etc are bad. The message is that if that is all we have to show at the end of 60-70 odd years in this life, it's a tragedy. The tragedy is that most people work hard their whole lives to get these transient things. A few (very,very few) suddenly get a conscience and start giving back small parts to society - which is great and highly commended - hope they give more. The rest enjoy their retirement collecting shells. Now if at the end of my life, all I have to show to my Creator is my shells and my boat, then I think it will be a terrible tragedy. However, if I have put all my energies into helping the poor and disenfranchised rather than making money to secure my future, I may have something better to show. Of course, I may have failed (just like the 95% of people who spend their life running after money and are never satisfied anyway), but I would prefer to fail trying to help people than to help myself.

    And as far as I know no one died a pauper following God - there was always richness and fullness of life. So that's the tragedy TBM and I really feel you missed the point on this one!

  5. Now that you've explained it in greater detail, I don't think I've got it wrong at all!!

    The message in that video is very condescending in that it assumes that people who are well off, who have retired well and collect shells have done nothing else worthwhile in their lives in terms of helping the poor. It assumes that anybody that fits the above profile (and I don't mean literally) and has done good is the exception rather than the rule. Money and generosity are neither directly nor indirectly proportional to each other.

    I could come up with an ad saying that you live in a slum, own a bicycle, have no job or savings and have drunk yourself to ruin, all because of your own laziness and when I ask you what you're going to tell God when you get to the pearly gates, the answer would still be the same - absolutely nothing! Having money does not mean you are more responsible for the welfare of the poor than the middle class bloke down the street who lives a little less comfortably than you. It's the will and the thought behind it that matters.

    What I'm trying to say is that you cannot categorise people into financial groups and then use the same classification to group them into Godly/ungodly, charitable/uncharitable, benevolent/tightfisted or generous/stingy sections based on their worldly possessions.

    I guess you could say that I am one of those 95% of people you mentioned who has run after money so far in my life but I'm not ashamed of it. I need to make money before I can share it. I'm not a saint - I won't earn 10 rupees and give away 9 rupees straightaway. Common sense will tell you that you have to get yourself in a secure position before you can help others. Otherwise, you are just adding to the poor population out there - one more mouth to feed, one more person to help, you become just another statistic. An analogy if I may - when oxygen masks pop out of a plane in trouble, the instructions are to put a mask on yourself before you put one on others, even if it is your own child. This isn't because of some exaggerated aim at self preservation at the cost of everybody else, it's because you can't help the next person if you've been knocked unconscious first. Maybe I'll die before I've had a chance to do my bit, but then that would be God's fault, not mine, wouldn't it? :-)

    So nobody can tell me not to own a boat or to stop collecting shells (again, metaphorically speaking). As long as I've made my contribution to society, I can live my life the way I like to. And I don't want to make an advertisement of my generosity - that's between me and my God. My lifestyle choices don't reflect my conscientious ones.

    Before you tell me that I'm still barking up the wrong tree, let me tell you that I don't have a problem with the message itself, just with the way the message is framed.

    - The Black Mamba

  6. It's interesting how you have a knack of reading my mind, TBM! But for the last para, I would have surely thought you were barking up the wrong tree. But if you agree with the message, then that's cool. Everyone's expression differs and this being an advertisement, it may sound rather rough. So at least we agree about the message - that it seems a waste of life to aim to be collecting shells, rather than helping others.

    Now for your point of making money before sharing it, the question each of us needs to be sure about right in the beginning is - how much is 'enough'. Once that is clear, then there is no problem. The difficulty comes for most of us because with each progressive step in life, the definition of 'enough' changes. Then we end up chasing money our whole life and never really feeling satisfied. So if we are sure when we are going to stop, then freak out! We may actually be able to help many more people once we are satisfied than if we are always worried.

    On that note, I would like to add that my personal opinion is that if we help others, we will receive more than we had considered to be 'enough'. But that of course, is not a common belief and I have no issues with people who disagree. It's just that life seems so much more happy, relaxed and stress-free this way that it seems a pity not to give it a shot!!