Is Retirement Biblical? (Part 2)

by Jason on November 19, 2009

In part 1 we looked at the retirement that is mentioned in the Bible and also the idea of rest that the Bible is flooded with. Now let’s look at retirement defined and re-defined.

Definition of Retirement

Merriam Webster defines retirement as:

withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life.

Unfortunately many people often think and define retirement as quitting work altogether and not doing anything. 

As if retirement consists of sitting on the couch and mumbling (Christian) expletives at Drew Carey for ruining The Price is Right! 

3 retirement types

There’s basically three retirement types if we boil it down to the basics. 

  1. My Timers – “Retirement is my time!”, you’ll hear them say.  They do what they want, when they want and who they want to do it with!  They think of retirement as a time to finally live for themselves.
  2. No Timers – “I’ve got no time to do anything because I’m so busy”, is the creed they live by.  They fill their schedules with all kinds of errands, busyness and other things that eat away their time.
  3. Give Timers – “How can I help, where can I volunteer” are questions they always ask.  They view retirement as an opportunity to serve others.

You can see the differences among these three types.  The first two are selfish with their time, energy and resources and think that retirement is all about their enjoyment.

The last one “get’s it” from a Biblical perspective that their time, talents, energy and resources are a gift from God that should be used to serve and bless others.

Here’s what is ironic about the Give Timers – living that way is about their enjoyment – they enjoy being a blessing to others.

I think the Bible is pretty clear that we are called to serve others and to love them as ourselves and that includes during retirement.  In fact I would say – especially in retirement because we don’t have employment constraints to work around.

Redefining Retirement

 Perhaps it’s time to rethink and redefine exactly what retirement is from a Christian perspective.

Instead of us thinking, “I can’t wait to retire so I can relax or play a million rounds of golf with my buddies, or buy that winter home I’ve always wanted” – we should think about community outreach, church ministry, volunteering at non-profit organizations and missions trips. 

Are golf, relaxing or winter homes evil in and of themselves?  No!  By all means – enjoy them.  What I’m trying to suggest is that we don’t view those as the prize! 

Jesus is the prize! 

I want you to see that retirement frees up time for endless possibilities for the kingdom of God! 

What Does This Mean for You?

If you’re holding on to your retirement dreams and goals as an idol – this means you probably need to have a heart-to-heart with God and ask Him to reveal what you need to let go of.

It’s not wrong to desire retirement enjoyment and do things you’ve always wanted to do.  But, this may mean you need to re-evaluate your motivations. 

In my opinion, what we often fail to realize is there will be rewards in heaven for what we do here on earth, which are designed to maximize our joy both here and especially there!

Let’s blaze a new trail – one that redeems retirement!

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