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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)

TITLE: Retiring to. . .?
By Andrew Meiser
09/17/09


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Tile floors, beige walls, folding tables, and metal folding chairs to match; the perfect wreathing for an all-day management seminar. Bring it on!

It wasn’t so bad. The presenter went about his task with a smile, a springy step, and passing attempts at humor, as he rattled through illustrations and examples around the worn themes of time management, delegation and prioritizing.

But he was opposed by the cynical forces of the hardened government worker. A phalanx of probation office employees, were in the house, and they had a voice. The oldest among peered darkly from behind sagging lenses as he periodically interrupted and refuted the presenter’s attempts to systematize management. He wasn’t nasty, so much as annoying.

“You don’t understand how it is in our office. It just crushes people.”

“Maybe some of this would help if the people above us were here.”

“Before I can teach any of this stuff to new people, I just need to teach them to survive.”

After a day spent fielding and re-directing these jabs and jibes, the presenter sent a smiling question back to his subtle tormentor.

“If your job is so horrible, then why don’t you just quit?”

“No way I’m quitting.”

“Why not?”

“We have a great retirement plan, I’m three years, six months, and twenty-six days away from it, and nobody is going to take it from me.”

The smile tinted just a bit. “If retirement is your goal, then just deal with the garbage and shut up.” Still smiling. . .no reply.

That incident occurred much more than three years, six months and twenty-six days ago, and now and then I will ponder the state of a man I’ve not seen since. Perhaps he is floating happily on some lake in his government-retirement-sponsored boat. Perhaps he died his last day on the job. I don’t know.

I do know this: the things we long for we sacrifice for, and the things we sacrifice for define us in the end. When Paul encouraged the church at Colossae to “set their minds on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God,” he also reminded them not to set their minds on things down here. They don’t last.

“When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.” This promise is true to all those whose life “is hidden with Christ in God.”

Comparing heaven to retirement is wrong. Heaven is the full fruit of a life begun with seeds of eternity planted in time’s fleeting field. Lives hidden in a retirement accounts deliver a shaky and temporal return. Lives hidden with Christ in God deliver life in return.

What are we longing for? What are we sacrificing for? What will define us in the end? The investment of our lives will answer the questions, and reveal the source of our life.


All Scriptures quoted are from the New American Standard version of the Bible


The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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Philippa Geaney 09/18/09
I read this as though I was in a crowd eg amongst those listening to the fellow Paul and I found my spirit lept, yes! Felt sad for the cynical employee.