“Finishing life to the glory of Christ means finishing life in a way that makes Christ look glorious.” John Piper “Rethinking Retirement” Crossway Books
What a great opening sentence from John Piper’s book titled “Rethinking Retirement.” In his statement, he is exemplifying what the Scriptures state in Psalm 71:18 which says: “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” (Psalm 71:18, NIV84)
What a countercultural statement from the Psalmist to today’s generations of believers! The passion of this psalmist in wanting to “declare your power to the next generation” even when they are old and gray is not the normal Americanized view of the use of one’s life in their later and finish-line years! Yet, we want you to think about retirement, no matter what your age is! The psalmist speaks to the passion and drive of using his later years to serve the Lord, and that is what we would like for you to think about and prayerfully consider for your own life.
Let’s consider the statement “Don’t waste your retirement.”
The Purpose of Work
In some of our previous episodes, we spoke about our work, how God ordained it, and also the importance of it.
- #46, Adam called to work – Our work actually glorifies God!
- #102, – How can I glorify God through my work? – Whatever we do, as we choose to do it with all our heart and unto the Lord, we can bring glory to the Father’s name!
Our vocation can (and will) change one or more times through the years! We may go from one area of work, to an open door of another that we are more passionate about, or affords us greater growth and use of our God-given abilities and talents.
As believers, our vocations may change through our lifetime, but our calling does not. Our calling does not, and never will, retire.
What Am I Retiring To or For?
What is the goal or retirement? There are bad objectives and good objectives
- Bad Objectives:
- Slothful living
- Storing up more treasures in Earth
- Good Objectives:
- Service – Pursuing your calling in a new way (Numbers 8:23–26)
- Storing up treasures in Heaven. Not something you only do in retirement (or in your career-years). If you plan well, you can continue to lay up treasures in Heaven by investing in the Kingdom with your time, talent, and treasures. If you take the time to ask yourself “what am I retiring to or for, you will be able to ask the right questions that you need to in order to put a good, solid retirement plan together.
Why should I retire?
We get older and we will need to slow down. Our bodies will get to the point where they cannot handle the “heavy lifting” anymore. Speak to anyone, almost anyone in their late 50’s and into their 70’s and they will most likely tell you that what they used to do in their twenties and thirties would not be practical today. Their body has been more “used” and “abused” through the years and they cannot do the same work, or work with the same intensity (or strength) as they once did.
God knew about this, and He even wrote about it in the Scriptures! He knew that there was a point in a person’s life that they would have to step back and/or slow down. Take a look at Numbers 8:
“…Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the Tent of Meeting, but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the Tent of Meeting, but they themselves must not do the work…”(Numbers 8:23–26, NIV84)
There it is! Not retirement, but an adjustment in their work. I like to say it this way, instead of doing the heavy lifting, the individual now assists those in doing the heavy lifting! They are ones that come alongside the younger ones to help, guide and assist them in doing the job right the first time with greatest ease and efficiency. They are perfect examples of the statement, “Don’t waste your retirement!”
Don’t Waste Your Retirement. Planning for a “Christian” Retirement (Redeployment)
- To put it into a good and right perspective of what retirement is according to the Scriptures, TheologyOfWork.org said it best: The purpose was not to remove productive workers from service, but to redirect their service in a more mature direction, given the conditions of their occupation. After retirement they could still “assist their brothers in the tent of meeting in carrying out their duties” (Num. 8:26). Sometimes, some faculties—judgment, wisdom, and insight, perhaps—may actually improve with increasing age. By “assisting their brothers,” older Levites transitioned to different ways of serving their communities. (Episode 028: Rethinking Retirement: Redeployment)
This is one of the key ways that one should process in coming up with a gameplan for their retirement (or better said, redeployment) years. Nowhere in Scripture do we see pink-flamingo shorts and new golf clubs. What we do see is continued service – but in a different, and even new way!
Sadly, many that approach the retirement years come into them haphazardly. There is not a plan to use time, talent and resources in a mature and God-honoring way. What does happen is after the euphoria of not having to go to work wears off (within weeks or months) there is a time where the retiree may feel depressed. When they get to that stage, if not too steeped into it, the individual usually reassesses what they are doing (or lack thereof) and comes up with a new gameplan. Either going back to work in a part time fashion, or volunteering. Just don’t waste your retirement fulfilling carnal desires, when there is much more important work that needs to be done.
Don’t waste your retirement. Use it for God’s glory! As you think about your final days upon this earth, plan them out! Process today what you would like it to be like, specifically how you can use your time, talents and treasures unto the Lord’s work! We can honor the Lord in our retirement planning, as well as how we live our retirement years! I pray that you, our listeners, look forward to hearing this next phrase as much as I am looking forward to hearing it one day, and this is not just about my younger working years, but also about my later years in my retirement/redeployment years.
“Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” (Matthew 25:21, NKJV)
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