Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)
TITLE: The Bible and Retirement
By kathy summers
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By Kathy Summers
The overhead fan and my spoon ringing against the inside of my coffee cup are the only sounds in the house. I sip my coffee as I walk from room to room admiring the tidiness of my home. I've spent the last three week cleaning and organizing it. I even cleaned out the junk draw in the kitchen. I thought about painting the bedroom but decided against it, I know I'll only paint it off white again. I look over to my desk and spot my shopping list. I pick up a pin and add cookie mix at the bottom. My daughter is bringing her boys over tomorrow and I want to bake them cookies. After all, I have the time to be a real Grandma now that I've retired.
I've been so busy in the past that it was hard to find time for my family. I'm excited to have more free time for them but, I hadn't planned on the boredom that's pressing on me now. My friends keep telling me that I've earned my freedom; that I need to learn to enjoy it and relax. I've started reading my bible more often. I pray more too. I really love my time with the Lord.
I notice that the light on the answering machine is blinking. Someone must have called while I was in the shower this morning. I hit the playback button and my daughter's cheery voice instantly brings a smile to my face. But, the smile fades as I continue listening. She tells me that her husband has decided to take the day off and that their all going to the mountains tomorrow. She'll reschedule with me later. "Bye Mom - love you!"
Picking up the pin again I lineout the cookie mix from my shopping list. I sit numbly blinking at my coffee until the phone rings, it's my sister. I immediately start to sob. I honestly don't know where the tears are coming from. I tell her of the thoughtlessness of my daughter cancelling our visit at the last minute. I tell her of my attempts to adjust to my new lifestyle by cleaning everything in sight. And finally, I tell her of my new spirituality and how obediently I am "getting into the word." My sister listens without interrupting until I've finished.
She is so loving as she soothe me. She assures me that I can call her any time and that she is praying for me. Our conversation is much lighter after that. We even share a few laughs by the end of our visit. But, as we prepared to end our conversation my sister tells me that I should take a look at Numbers 8:23 through 26 when I get the chance. She says that it's the only place in the bible that ever spoke about retirement. Within minutes after hanging up I pull my bible to me and open it. I read the verses she gave me.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 8:24 “This is what pertains to the Levites: At the age of twenty-five years and upward one may begin to join the company in the work of the tent of meeting, 8:25 and at the age of fifty years they must retire from performing the work and may no longer work. 8:26 They may assist their colleagues in the tent of meeting, to attend to needs, but they must do no work. This is the way you must establish the Levites regarding their duties.”
As I read the scriptures I realized that retirement for the Levites didn't mean they stopped being part of the work. It only meant that they changed the way that they served. A memory of a recent service at my church came to mind. The pastor had asked for volunteers to help with several of the churches ministries. I of course, didn't raise my hand because I had retired. Smiling to myself I picked up the phone and dialed the church. I finally understood that the Lord had provided me with retirement from my job so that I could serve him in a different way. I've also learned that "getting into the word," is not that same thing as letting the word get into me. I'll still have more time to spend with my family but my life and purpose don’t have to stop between visits.
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