Serving the Lord is the greatest privilege in the world. To think Creator God would allow me to be a part of His mission to love others, serve people, and reach the world with the gospel just amazes me. I love it and want to be a part of it. Through my local church and my vocation, I have a wonderful opportunity to serve the Lord and fulfill His call. That’s what Christians do. It is our response to God who loves us and has saved us from our sins.
What about when we get to retirement? Does the mission change? In her book of essays entitled Unpopular Opinions, Dorothy Sayers writes, “What is the Christian understanding of work?…It is that work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties…the medium in which he offers himself to God.” If our work and labor is as Sayers says (and I believe it is), what should be the way a believer views retirement?
In our Western culture, the prevalent notion of retirement is a life without labor or commitment. When the average person thinks about retirement, he or she thinks about vacations, beaches, traveling, rest, and relaxation. Nothing is wrong with those plans. We all may have aspirations for such things, but for believers, retirement is much more. Retirement is not a reward for all our labor. Retirement is about mission. It is about open hands rather than holding tightly, about others and not about ourselves. Our retirement future is not a time to retire from serving God but rather a time of increased opportunities to serve Him.
It could be when we go on trips or join a golf club, we consider and look for ways we can serve God in that setting and share the love of Christ. Or, it could mean you have more time to volunteer at church during the week, teach a new Sunday School class, serve on a board or committee, or assist in meeting the needs of the elderly in your church or community. It may be leading a mission trip, a volunteer staff position, starting a new ministry, etc. Whatever the service or labor, if it’s for the Lord, it is good and pleasing to Him.
So, when you think about planning for retirement or what your retirement may look like, think about getting prepared so you are able to go wherever God calls you to go and do whatever God calls you to do during the last quarter of your life. Let us commit to be faithful to serve the Lord as long as we can and until our work on this earth is done and He calls us home.
My prayer is we all can say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
**Adapted from ONE Magazine