As I have studied retirement over the years, one of the more interesting aspects about the concept is that the Bible doesn’t appear to discuss retirement in detail. There is, in fact, only one reference to the term "retire" and its short and limited in scope when compared to the choices, opportunities, and challenges faced by today’s retirees.
On the surface, it would appear that this passage leaves the topic of retirement fairly open to interpretation. Does it mean people should stop working at 50? And what exactly does it mean that they can assist their brothers but must not do the work? Does it mean they should stand afar and bark out orders from a lounge chair or that they should stand side-by-side with them as they transfer their skills and knowledge?
Reality is, the Bible doesn’t endorse the way many people perceive retirement. Nowhere does scripture offer ideas or suggestions for living a leisure filled, self-serving life. There’s no extra commandments or prophet that says you can sit on the couch all day, let your relationship deteriorate, give up on your health and well-being, stop using your gifts and talents, and most of all, stop serving others. That being said, you’re not going to end up in hell because you accepted a buy-out offer or decided 35 years with the same company was enough. The challenge comes in when people turn retirement into a self-centered instead of God-centered time where they can do, say, or be whatever they want, without limitation or consequence.
More importantly, retirement is portrayed as life’s ultimate goal and sign of freedom, but it’s not. Getting into heaven is. That’s a powerful reality I don’t want anyone to regret or realize too late. It’s not like saying, "I sure wish I would have invested in gold when it was $800 an ounce" or "bought some shares of Apple when they first went public."
Managing those regrets or other earthly issues during 20-30 years in retirement pales in comparison to where and how you will spend eternity. Having a relationship with God and accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is a boat you don’t want to miss.
While the Bible doesn’t endorse many of today’s retirement ideals, Scripture actually overflows with Gods plan and promises for your retirement. In such a way, that nearly every book of the Bible contains retirement wisdom for those interested in seeking it out and applying it to this season of life.
For those who enter retirement unprepared for everything it is, they can look to the story of Abraham who at age 75 was told by God to leave behind his comforts – and everything he knew – for an unknown destination.
For others who may have been forced into retirement because of corporate downsizing, a health problem, or other unexpected circumstance, they can learn from Daniel’s unwavering faith as he overcame the Lion’s Den after being betrayed by his co-workers.
Even those who think they are prepared and called by God to take their life in a new direction, can garner retirement lessons from the many trials and tribulations the Apostle Paul faced after Jesus called out to him on the road to Damascus. In each case, the lives of Abraham, Daniel, and Paul all grew brighter as they pursued their faith and their relationship with God.
Today’s realities say it’s time to focus more on God’s saving grace than your personal savings. Use Retirement Roots to discover the best of what God has in store for you. I assure you, the results will be everlasting.
As you will see, a Christian retirement is one that is founded in Biblical concepts instead of dollars and cents. It’s about saving, building, and preparing for things that glorify God. Now don’t get me wrong, there is still a need for individuals and couples to plan and save money for their retirement. After all, this book is not about asking you to quit your job, sell all your possessions, volunteer for every church committee, or give you a long list of ‘Thou Shall Not’s’.
Instead, the goal is to help you see the God-given time you have set aside for retirement in a different perspective. One that is enjoyable and tunes you into the fact that your life and your legacy will ultimately be judged by God and not the details inside a binder full of financial charts and graphs.
Securing a Christian retirement today requires different tools and ammunition than it did in the past. It calls for new and soon-to-be retirees to invest first and foremost in their relationship with Christ. That means accepting the fact that for every hour invested in traditional retirement planning an equal amount of time should be spent in scripture and with your small group, pastor, or a trained advisor to help you replace your work identity, fill your time with meaningful tasks, stay connected to family and friends, make your money last, and remain in good mental and physically health.
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