When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.” Joshua 13:1
Christians may retire from their career, but they can still engage as a volunteer or start a fresh, new second career. Simply doing nothing and spending all on self indulgence is not an option for followers of Jesus. “Retirement” as my friend Sonny says, “Is a reallocation of my calendar, cash and expertise”. More time for grandchildren, yes! More time for exercise, sort of. More time for travel, yes but in moderation (maybe take a grandchild with you). But mostly, more opportunity to engage with God’s heart as a: joyful giver, mentor, teacher, server—to be hospitable and pray.
Joshua had grown old and could have faded off into the sunset and died, but the Lord wasn’t finished with him yet. Though he had experienced the miracles of God as Moses’ apprentice and won battles to take possession of the promised land as Israel’s leader—the Lord had another assignment for him. So, Joshua stayed involved in the distribution of land for the various tribes. He established Cities of Refuge, so those who had committed manslaughter could find asylum. Some of Joshua’s best work occurred in his twilight years. His was reallocation not retirement!
“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come” (Psalm 71:18).
Pray carefully, but think boldly about a golden season of life with a compelling purpose. If you enjoy travel, mission work could be a very meaningful time to go deep with relationships from other cultures. If you love children and are a good organizer you might spend part of your work week administering your church’s preschool/children’s program. Visit hospitals, prisons or tutor students who need extra patience and instruction. A meaningful life’s vocation followed by worthwhile volunteerism causes you to come alive for God and others. Give more than you get!
If you focus on earthly rewards—they are your reward, but if you focus on eternal rewards, there’s much more to look forward to from the best Rewarder—your heavenly Father. A Christ centered life keeps you centered on what really matters most: knowing and doing God’s word, loving and serving people, praise and worship of Jesus and generosity of time and money. A soul led by faith is strengthened during sickness, peaceful when threatened by pain and hopeful when facing death. Invest in the eternal, so when the pace of life slows—your spirit grows much richer.
“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good” (Titus 2:2-3).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me Your game plan for my next season of service.
Application: How can I use my gifts, experiences and resources for God’s Kingdom?
Related Readings: Numbers 8:23-26; Psalm 78:4; Joel 1:3; Ephesians 5:15; 2 Timothy 4:7