My pastor said, “The word retirement is not in the Bible.” I can’t find it either. Bummer! I think it must be the most delicious word I know.
I’m pinning my understanding of his pulpit proclamation to mean, as long as we live we should serve the Lord. If his comments were intended to encompass secular employment, I don’t want to know it. My countdown clock is running.
Many years ago I was the Director of the Youth Department in our church. Someone told me about a Mr. Brown who lived in a local nursing home with his wife. “You need to go meet him and get him to talk to the teenagers. You won’t regret it.”
So, thinking the advice worth heeding, I went to meet the gentleman. Mr. Brown, I discovered, was blind and his wife was in a coma. But he was eager to share his story if I would provide the transportation. That morning went something like this.
After being introduced he sang a humorous little ditty that had all the kids laughing. And then he shared scripture from memory. “Hide God’s word in your heart and mind while you can. I have been blind for the last several years,” he said. “All I have of God’s Word is what I can remember.”
Mr. Brown was born south of Buda, Texas on the farm he inherited from his father some years later. He lived and worked on that land until he was sixty-five years old. Then, believing the Lord was leading him, he sold the farm. But retirement was not in the picture.
He took a job as a maintenance supervisor in a refinery in New Mexico. Over the following ten years, he led over seventy of his fellow employees to express their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
And then at the age of seventy-five he retired to care for his ailing wife.
What tremendous faith! What obedience. At sixty-five years of age, following the Lord’s leadership he made a radical life-style change. He sold the only place he had ever lived, to move far away to a type of employment he had never done. The harvest of souls into God’s kingdom that followed is supreme confirmation that the Lord blessed his faithfulness.
The scriptures tell us that God knows the plans He has for us; that he knew us even before we were born. He knows our days, our coming in and our going out.
Can I be as attuned to God’s will as was Mr. Brown? Can I be as obedient? Yes, of course. The question is, will I?
God has set the bar high. We are to run the race to win. He expects us to do so.
Why am I alive? Why are you? God may or may not have work for us to do like Mr. Brown’s, but it is safe to say, he has lofty thoughts toward us. Until you can find “retirement” in the Bible, don’t.
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“Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Eccl. 12:13 NKJ)
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