MEMORY VERSE: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”- Psalm 90:10
BIBLE PASSAGE: Numbers 8:23-26
INTRODUCTION: According to the common state of life, man has between seventy and eighty years to live on the general average (Psalm 90:10). We can therefore deduce that life is lived in four quarters. Twenty years each. “0 to 20” years is the first quarter (Formative years), “21 to 40” years is the second (Creative years), “41 to 60” is the third (Consolidating years, and “61 to 80” is the fourth (Retirement years). The body also starts to fall apart in the fourth quarter signalling the need to slow down or stop some activities, hence the need for retirement. Retirement, therefore, is the withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from one’s active working life.
1. WHY AND HOW SHOULD A CHRISTIAN RETIRE?
2. WHAT TO DO IN RETIREMENT.
1. WHY AND HOW SHOULD A CHRISTIAN RETIRE?
The phase of Retirement can be more about what is in the next stage for our life. In our 50s and 60s and 70s, we should be fully committed to God’s Kingdom work and be an example of what a Jesus-saturated life looks like. We should be like the Apostle Paul in Phil 3:13-14. We must keep pressing on rather than looking at the past achievements or stages of our life. Our lives are not simply about us. Christians may be free to “retire” from their occupation, but as disciples of Christ we are not ever free to retire from serving God and others. Retirement may mean a new season of life. We have been created by God for a purpose, our retirement status or age has nothing to do with that purpose. All our personal and I gifts, whether we have much or little are good gifts from God that can be used in retirement for our joy , the joy of others, 1 Cor. 12:11; 1 Pet. 4:10-11; 1 Tim. 4:14. There’s much that older Christians can contribute by being an excellent and God’s glory God role models or mentors of godly character. The Bible teaches the intrinsic value and dignity of work Gen. 1:31; John 5:17; Col. 3:23, 2 Thess. 3:12, and that doesn’t apply only to work for a salary but includes work for His Kingdom.
Although there is no biblical principle that a person should retire from their work when they reach a certain age, there is the example of the Levites and their work in the tabernacle. In Numbers 4, the Levite males were numbered for service in the tabernacle from ages 25-50 years old, and after age 50, they were to retire from regular service. They could continue to “assist their brothers” but could not continue to work Num.8:24-26.
Christians should, therefore, invest wisely in terms of their time and money in preparation for this next stage of their lives. They should save up for retirement years with the aim of living well, in good health and fulfilling Gods ultimate purpose for their lives. You should also work to leave an inheritance for generations to come Prov.21:20; 2Cor.12:14. As a believer, the greatest thing to “save up” is one’s spiritual heritage, which can be passed on to children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Christians should save money for perceived future needs, such as when they are no longer generating an income. Before retirement, a believer should plan to provide for oneself financially through work and proper planning 2 Thess.3:10; Prov.6:6-8. When considering how to save for retirement, it is good to pray over the matter, search the Scriptures the appropriate use of money and meet with a financial advisor Counselling on viable and trusted investment opportunities.
WHAT TO DO IN RETIREMENT
Even though we may retire from our vocations (even “full time Christian ministry), we should never retire from serving the Lord, although the way we serve Him may change. There is the example of two incredibly old people in Lk 2:20-30 (Simeon and Ann continued to serve the Lord faithfully, Anna was an elderly widow stored in the temple daily with fasting and prayer. Retirees who ministered can teach, counsel, fellowship, and mentor by relating how God has worked in their lives Tit. 2:2-5. Retirement is the perfect time connect with family and friends Prov. 18:24 to pass on the wisdom of their lives. Retirees can travel, visit some places for recreation to or do some light physical exercises like walking or working in the garden to help keep their body fit.
Retirement can also be a perfect time to learn something new, rekindle an old hobby or do something that is of interest (but less strenuous). Retirees can also volunteer to continue to contribute in an area that matters to them and for the success of others. If you are done working for others, you can start your own business (in your field of experience) and have people work for you or carefully invest some of your retirement benefits in a business or charity organisations with proven integrity. This is another way of leaving a good legacy.
The retirement years are not to be spent solely in the pursuit of pleasure 1 Tim.5:6. The goal is not a selfish enjoyment of a lavish life after years of work Lk.12:16-21; 1Tim.5:6. Our dependency should always be on God. We should also always think of giving back, in one way or another. Setting time aside to also pray and fast for your family and friends is never a wasted pursuit. A retiree can teach, counsel and mentor the younger ones. Generations of descendants can be impacted by the faithful prayers of an elderly family “patriarch” or “matriarch.” Prayer is perhaps the most fruitful ministry outlet for those who have retired. If you have not yet retired find time to think about what you would like to do in your older years so that when the time comes you will know exactly what you need to do.
The psalmist’s prayer should be our prayer as we age: “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come” Ps. 71:18.