Welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. My friend, may I ask you a question today? Are you looking forward to retirement? Did you know that even though God understands how age can make us slower and less able, he doesn’t countenance our unwillingness to work as hard as we can as long as we can?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
I really have no motivation to retire soon. My work requires the ability to think, write and make decisions; so as long as the brain cooperates, I hope to continue to keep working. Besides, I can’t find the concept of retirement in the Bible. The Patriarchs like Abram, Isaac, Jacob, Moses et. al., pushed on until the last breath and then they retired permanently; from life that is. They didn’t remove their sandals, so to speak, until they had no plan to put them on again. Unfortunately, we live in a culture where retirement has become a sort of right. It is an expectation, and because of that it’s become a goal for younger workers as well. They’re compelled to put aside a nest egg to live comfortably in retirement. The messages on TV and elsewhere in the media pound on this continually, especially in the current economic climate. But, you know, in many ways that’s a poor goal. I’m pretty sure that God never intended we live in a work-free environment. Work is a part of his plan; has been since Adam left the Garden of Eden. I don’t believe time has changed that plan.
Even in retirement our goal should be to work. Who knows what great calling God may yet have in store for you and I? Unfortunately, many who have reached my age believe they have some inalienable right not to work. There is this sort of fairness thing going on where folks over 60 or 65 think that younger folks need to necessarily step in and take over all the work we used to do. That seems to be the easier path as we constantly look for shortcuts to do less with others doing more, stepping into the void older workers create by doing less merely based on age and not on ability.
Here’s a story. Sheer laziness has probably been responsible for more shortcuts, not to mention valuable inventions, than we are ready to admit. Most of us are continually on the lookout, at least subconsciously, for easier ways to perform onerous or routine tasks. An example of imagination spurred on by outright lethargy is contained in the story of an old mountaineer and his wife who were sitting in front of the fireplace one evening just whiling away the time. After a long silence, the wife said:”Jed, I think it’s raining. Get up and to outside and see.” The old mountaineer continued to gaze into the fire for a second, sighed, then said, “Aw, Ma, why don’t we just call in the dog and see if he’s wet.” (Bits & Pieces, April 29, 1993, p. 3.)
My friend, the tendency is, as we get older, to not only retire from our employment but to retire from spiritual tasks as well. I remember talking to an old timer about picking up some shut-ins for church services one day. He had been retired from his job for a number of years and also had taken a break from spiritual service as well. His response was, “There must be plenty of younger more active folks to do that. I’ve done my share, so now it’s time for others to step up to the plate and do their’s. Passing off opportunities to serve to others in deference to a sense of fairness or ones age isn’t wise or equanimous, it’s lazy and self-centered. The Bible labels such people as sluggards, and God is displeased with those who, physically and mentally able, defer to Bible reading and prayer as their only spiritual activity. Life isn’t about getling what we want or deserve. Life is about service and how others benefit from our efforts to do and not don’t.
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We pray. Thank you Lord for blessing us with enough health and wealth to be sufficient for however long you ask us to stay upon this earth. Father, we are often tempted to put our own leisure above the needs of others to be served by our abilities and talents. Forgive us Father when we feel that retirement from full time employment also dictates a withdrawal from serving you and others with our time, talents and treasures. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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