A trend is occurring in that more and more Canadians are continuing to work past traditional retirement age -some out of necessity but others just to stay active and busy. Traditional retirement, defined as no longer working, is never mentioned in the Bible. We do live in this world, so we should consider retirement culturally and Biblically. As Christians what should our view of retirement be?
Jeff Haanan in his book An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life presents 5 points of action to help people find God’s purpose for their retirement.
Culture – Most financial institutions and travel companies promote retirement as being on a beach somewhere warm and enjoying a 365-day weekend with little concern for the world and those around them. What is your vision for a good retirement? Consider how you want to spend your days.
Sabbath Rest – The concept of resting is well documented in the Bible with the intentional Sabbath day every seventh day (Exodus 20:8) and instructions to the Israelites when they entered the promised land to give the land a year of rest every seventh year (Leviticus 25: 1-5). Upon retirement, consider taking a 3 or 6-month Sabbath rest to refocus and renew, trusting God’s provision and discovering the needs of those around us.
Calling – Some of us are in occupations where we have little choice. Our highest calling as Christians is to love God with all our mind, heart, soul and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves (Matthew 22: 37-39). Retirement is a great opportunity to discover/rediscover our calling. Consider what God is doing in the world that captures your imagination. How can your unique skills, talents or networks be leveraged for God’s purposes in the world? How can your life experiences be used to benefit others? As an “elder”, consider what you can take up in this season of your life.
Work – Is work a curse or is it inherently good? Think back to Adam and Eve before the Fall…their ‘job’ was to take care of the world around them (Genesis 1:26). What does it mean to re-engage with work as you retire? Consider how you can still contribute whether it is paid or unpaid.
- Stewardship – Stewardship includes money, but it also covers our time and talents. The good Lord put us on this world for a purpose till our last breath. Consider what purpose that may be.
A biblical view of retirement reflects a life of service, pointing beyond ourselves to our Lord and Savior in whose image we’re made. I’m blessed to assist many of you who have a wonderful view of retirement and continue to live out God’s call in your life.