conversion-tips

For years I’ve had most of my savings in a traditional 401 IRA.  401 IRAs are employer-matching contributions, and since I no longer am employed by a company, I cannot invest money in a 401 IRA.  While I can continue to contribute to a lot of different IRAs that are tax deferred, I’ve chosen to put my savings in Roth IRAs which are not tax deferred. In other words, I pay the tax now when I contribute instead of later when I retire and withdraw. I’m basically taking a chance that taxes will be higher when I retire and thus will cost me less now.  To avoid tax audits and complications I’ve also decided to rollover my savings in 401 IRAs to Roth IRAs. By doing this I now have to pay the tax on those contributions, and so I only do a little each year to avoid huge tax payments.  I still believe it will be worth it in the long run, but converting from one to the other is complicated and very regulated.  There are multiple rules and regulations and tons of paper work to follow, but in the end, Lord willing, greater payoffs.  Bottom line; conversion is difficult but necessary and rewarding.

                         Consider the conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8. Act 8:30-31 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”  (31)  And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 

                         First of all, the eunuch is an objective and humble fellow. Most humans are too shy or prideful to proclaim that they don’t know something.  I’ve seen many a man who instead of asking for help, pretended he knew what he was doing and paid dearly for his ignorance.  The eunuch could have smiled and thanked Phillip and said, “Nah, I’ll figure it out,” or mocked him and proclaimed, “Who are you to show me what to do?”   Although becoming a Christian is not as hard as we make it out to be, there are things we must learn and understand in order to please our Lord.  Calling on His name sounds easy but the scriptures show that there is more to it than verbal proclamation.  We are encouraged to study (2 Tim. 2:15), excel (1 Thess. 4:1), examine (Acts 17:11), seek (Heb.11:6), and walk (Eph.5:8).  These are not passive steps in our pursuit of eternal glory but rather are active and needful of inquiry and investigation. In order for the eunuch to convert to the right path he had to know some things, not everything, just those things which would inform him of the way unto salvation and the cost of being a disciple. He needed to know the truth in order to weigh the benefits against the costs.  Once he sat down with Phillip and studied and understood the weight of what he learned, he chose conversion.

                         Second, his choice to convert to being a follower of Christ required action.  Having learned the things necessary for conversion he acted without hesitation. Acts 8:36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch *said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?”  Often, when I’m converting my IRA’s at this time of year, I’ll hesitate and ponder for a while.  I’ll usually reread the procedures, look at the tax rates, contemplate how much I’ll have to pay in taxes, and deliberate over which fund I should put them in, etc. However, once I’m clear about it, then it’s, “Just Do It!”  Similarly, conversion is a process of learning, relearning, contemplation and then action.  In order for the conversion to take place, the eunuch had to stop the chariot, go down into the water and be baptized.  It required some effort and as the saying goes, “He had to get wet.”  I think that’s the hardest thing to just about any decision we make in life, “Getting wet”.  If you’ve ever done remodeling you know, the hardest part is starting, tearing out, making a mess.  But if you want that beautiful new kitchen or bathroom you’ve got to “get wet”.

                         Last, the eunuch was pleased with his decision to convert. Act 8:39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.  His help was now gone! He was on his own. No one to hold his hand or show him the way. But that’s not really true for we forget the promise in Acts 2:38 of the Holy Spirit. He’s there to guide us, help us, encourage us.  The information is still there in God’s holy word, the prospectus of our investment.

Darryl Fuller