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Rethinking Retirement

I know a man who retired early.  It was his goal to retire by the age of fifty-two.   He would have thirty years in at the company he worked for.   For as long as I knew him, that was his sole purpose in life.  Retirement.  He hated his job.  I never heard him say a good word about it. Every day was just a day close to retiring.

The age of his goal came.  He retired.  Life was good for a while.  Then 9/11 happened and the stock market dropped for a bit.  It rebounded and life was back to being good for a while.  Then 2008 happened.  Life is more of a struggle.  All of the plans changed.

*****

I have a friend whose dad was a teacher.  His dad was a teacher and deacon in his church.  He was a leader.  He worked hard all of his life to provide for his family.  Then he retired.

He was asked to do some things in church.  He responded by saying that he had done his time and that it was time for others to work.  He wanted to simply enjoy his retirement in peace.

He didn’t get too.  Not long after retirement, he was taken home to be with the Lord.  You could say that was a better deal.  After all, as Paul said, to live is Christ, to die is gain.

My friend sometimes wonders if his dad had kept working for the Lord, if He would have left him here.  We’ll never know.

*****

There’s a man where I work who gets to work between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m. everyday.  He drives in, gets out of his car and goes to his desk.

He walks around the building and makes sure that every copier in the building is on.  He sits down at his desk and does a few things.  He goes to the cafeteria and has breakfast with a few people.

Later on, he will be sitting at his desk and someone will come to him asking him if he has a stamp to mail a letter.  He pulls out a about one hundred dollars worth of stamps and sells them one for cost.  A young lady will stop by and talk to him.  He will ask her if she wants a kiss.  She will giggle and he will give her a Hershey’s Kiss.

This man is ninety years old and one of the happiest people I know.  He has mentioned lately that he might need to slow down and retire soon.  We will all be sad at work when that day comes.

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John Piper has mentioned in his book Don’t Waste Your Life how sad it is when people retire.  They spend their time walking beaches collecting seashells.  Or they spend all of their time playing golf.

I think the problem with most people who retire is that they have no real purpose in life.  They did for thirty or forty years.  They retire and suddenly they sit down with nothing to do.

I’m not ready to retire.  I still have a number of years to go before I’m ready to do that.  However, I’m starting to give thought to what I’m going to do with my remaining years when I don’t go to work everyday.

What can I do that will glorify the Lord?  How can I help my church?  How can I help the Church?

I’m looking at how my purpose will change.  How will I spend my time?

It’s time to rethink retirement and what that means.  It isn’t a time to sit down and get older.  It’s a time to live for the Lord.

What do you think about retirement?

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  1. March 20, 2014 at 1:08 am

    The word retirement, so far as I know, doesn’t exist in Scripture – and I seriously doubt if we’re to make that our goal in life. What we do will change with the season of life we’re in, but working on improving one’s golf game? Give me a break…

    • March 20, 2014 at 5:21 am

      Rick, I continue to have this conversation with people. The concept of not retiring to some leisure life is foreign to people. Really, it’s a recent concept.

  2. LF6
    March 20, 2014 at 5:43 am

    Well, let’s see…Lord willing I am retiring from the military with 22 years of service in 2016. I will be 40 years old. Now as for retiring from the work of the Lord- this is a misnomer. His laborers retire upon death.

    Even when I retire from the military, if I have to break down boxes at Wal-mart, that is what I shall do. I have to keep my mind engaged, otherwise I might go insane! 🙂

    • March 20, 2014 at 5:49 am

      Congratulations. I agree. There is no model for retirement I the Bible.

      • LF6
        March 20, 2014 at 5:57 am

        Thanks and thanks for the post this morning. It is Comment 013 on my blog 🙂

  3. March 20, 2014 at 6:14 am

    I am retired! I retired four times in my life and career and for some reason still find plenty that needs done. Three time I was called back to work to train my replacements, take over a manager and then shut down the plant. Life is full of opportunities — take advantage of them all for life is only as full as you make it.
    I am now 70 years old and may still ba as busy as I ever was for there is still plenty around here to keep me busy and out of trouble, if you ask my wife.
    Remember what Jesus said ” Love God with all your heart and love others as I have loved you.” Just following this will keep you very busy.
    Have a great day!

    Ed

    • March 20, 2014 at 6:17 am

      Ed, thanks for reading and commenting. I definitely weigh your words seriously.

  4. March 20, 2014 at 7:18 am

    I am 61. My wife is 63. She plans to retire on May 3rd. I think it is a mistake but who can change the mind of a woman? I have no plans to retire. I have often said when i go i want to go with my shoes in my bike or my boots at the pulpit. it goes without saying I will (and am) slowing down some but I don’t want to retire. I can’t think of something more boring and unfulfilling than that.

  5. March 20, 2014 at 7:40 am

    I agree with Rick above. Retirement is not found in scripture and is not a God given “right”as most of our culture believes. Both of my parents retired from where they worked for 40+ years. My dad passed away a few years later. My dad previously and now my mom spend most of their time doing things for their church or taking care of other people. They have provided me a great example of how to live those years if I ever get to retire. We joke about how my mom is in better shape than us. I have seen many people retire who just sit at home and dwell on themselves. I pray that we do not become like that.

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