My father-in-law was fond of reminding others that at his age all his friends were retiring and dying. I’m fast approaching that same age, but it seems to me it’s more an “either/or” than an “and.” I would say that my friends are retiring but they have a clear-cut choice as to what happens next.
Friends of mine who retire from a challenging career and settle down to a life of leisure don’t seem to last as long as the ones who remain busy. This doesn’t mean that a person shouldn’t retire; it means that he or she shouldn’t retire to a life of self-indulgence (or to what some might call laziness). Those who remain active will stay in better health, both physically and mentally. Their minds will continue to be alert and they will stay younger at heart.
As a kid I was taught by my grandmother that idle hands were the devil’s workshop. That may not be entirely correct, but it definitely has a ring of truth to it. There is a time for rest and relaxation, but too much of a good thing is not good at all. We were created for work (even before the Fall of mankind when toilsome work became a reality). We need it and we enjoy it. God gave us the capacity to feel a sense of accomplishment after a job well done, or a noble effort put forth., even if unsuccessful.
The goal of life is not retirement. The goal should be working for the Lord. Once retired from a position in the business or professional world, abundant time is freed up for doing God’s work in a greater capacity.
Productive and fulfilling volunteer opportunities abound in the Christian realm. It’s as easy as connecting with your local church and offering your services. God intended for us to be His hands and feet in ministering to the poor and the afflicted. He desires us to share the gospel to the ends of the world, or in our own neighborhood. Underprivileged children need tutors who care about their progress, the shut-ins need meals served with a cheery smile and an ear bent their way. The possibilities are endless.
There is no more fulfilling activity than turning your time over to the Lord. This is what Jesus did and Jesus is the model after which we pattern our lives. Unfortunately, our careers and household responsibilities often prevent us from being the servant that He was, and that we know we should be. But fortunately retirement opens up the door to new possibilities. It is our time to give it all back to Him.
Think about it: getting up in the morning and dedicating the entire day to God. Offering Him your hands, your feet, your mouths, your time, your money. Lifting up your arms to heaven and shouting the words of Isaiah, “Here I am, Lord, send me.” What an exciting day you will have in store for you!
No telling where the day might lead, but the assurance is always that it will be a gratifying and worthwhile day. Imagine the joy of falling into bed exhausted but knowing that you have done whatever God has asked you to do. No regrets and no reservations.
Of course this is something we should be doing all of our lives, but somehow even the best intentions do not always come to fruition. The last barrier to being smack dab in the middle of God’s will collapses when we’re finally old enough to put away the everyday run-of-the-mill business of life and give God the adoration and servitude that He deserves.
Whatever your talent may be, it is a gift from God. It would be a sin not to use it for God’s glory rather than your own.