Note: If you are retired, this post will probably ruffle your feathers. And, if it DOES ruffle your feathers I’m OK with that! This is something I feel very strongly about, and I think is important to think about, especially if you’re a Christian!
Retirement. Such a strange thing. You know, it wasn’t until my grandparents’ generation that retirement was even a concept in our society. No one retired, everyone worked until they died, or were not longer able. There was too much to do to survive to retire. But, in the 1900s things started to change. Life got easier with the inventions of appliances for our homes and other such machines. We became more of an urban society and didn’t have to rely on our own farm or garden to provide food for our families. And so, why not, at the age of 60, 65, 70 stop working, stop collecting a paycheck and go south for the winter? Or, why not stop working and just stop doing anything unless it was interesting to you that day? Retirement is something David and I have talked about a lot, but not in the way the world views retirement. No, we talk about what we’ll be doing when we reach the age the world tells us to retire. And, we talk a lot about how even the idea of retirement is not mentioned in Scripture, is not a Biblical idea, and is not something Jesus even eluded to. Interesting.
So, what will we do when we reach the age of retirement? Keep working. Will we still be a pastor’s family? Not sure. Will we still be collecting a weekly paycheck? Not sure. But, we do know this, we will not be “hanging up our hats” and going golfing, or living in the south for the winter, or owning a beachfront property in the Caribbean (although, I must admit, being called to be a missionary in a warm climate is very appealing to me!). We have said since before we got married when the Lord calls us from pastoral ministry we’ll see what other ministry he’ll lead us into. We truly want to work until we die. We believe God can and will–if we’re willing–use us until that point. Does this mean we want or have to “punch a time clock” until that point? Nope. By why does leaving an 8-5 job mean you get to sit around and just do as you please? We don’t believe this is what God had in mind for us at all–and I mean all of us, humankind, not just David and I.
If you are a Christian, and you’re retired, I encourage you to ask yourself, “Am I doing everything I can for the furthering of God’s kingdom?” If you’re not sure then I encourage you to pray about it and seek the Lord and ask him what it is he would like you to do with your time now. If you’re near the age of retirement (as the world sees it) have you started asking yourself these questions? Have you and your spouse, if you’re married, started to think about if/when you leave your 8-5 job what you can do for the Lord with that time? If the answer is “no,” or “not really,” I encourage you to begin doing that! I truly believe no matter our age, if we are walking with God he can use us until he calls us home. And, I don’t believe he thinks it a great idea to use this flexible time of retirement for our own personal gain/enjoyment.