I think one of the more interesting things about retirement is that it is not a Biblical term. It is certainly a reality of a season of life that we must prepare for because we will eventually reach a point of diminishing productivity and ability due to advanced age, or perhaps we become incapacitated by the effects of old age and are no longer able to engage in our former livelihood as before, but the Bible doesn't really recognize that eventuality because productivity is not a Kingdom concept. I suppose those magic "retirement" dates (age criterion) began to be thrust upon us when Social Security benefits became available, and when company retirement benefits maxed out at 25 or 30 years of service, and folks just decided, "What's the point of working any further, there's nothing to gain. Now I can go do what I wanna do."
The reality is that as Kingdom citizens we never lose our value to others in the Kingdom, or to the world around us, except by personal choice. Yes, we don't have as much energy used to, so we don't feel that we are as productive as we once were, but what we lack in energy and stamina we more than compensate for with wisdom, knowledge and experience gained through years of service to the King. Generally, it our pride that causes us to pack it in when we can't seem to do what we used to do with equal facility and ease. Hence our, "value" in our eyes is diminished; in essence, we consider ourselves to be worth less. How many folks to do you who died within six months of retirement?
We are not retired, in fact we've probably worked harder do ministry in the last 15 years than we ever did in the previous decades in the secular work force ... but have enjoyed it a whole lot more. The romance of travel having left me 30 years ago, it's become a bit wearisome. In our advancing years my wife and I have found that our Kingdom ministry roles have begun to morph toward mentoring, as well as fathering and mothering a bunch of 20-somethings who's parents didn't do their jobs very well. By and large this generation has little personal vision, no direction and are clueless about the Kingdom of God and their potential place in it. In short, they don't really know what life is all about and consequently are not enjoying life much at all.
So the question for those of you planning for and considering retirement age is this; Where can I continue to give my life away in service to the King in a manner that is productive for the Kingdom, uses my accumulated skill, knowledge and experience, still challenges me and requires me to grow, yet affords me a bit slower pace and more time with family and friends?
I pray the Lord will begin to introduce you to the answer to this question.
As I write this we are preparing to head back to Mozambique at the end of the month for 8 weeks to do pastoral care for IRIS long term missionaries and 40 Harvest School staffers. At the tail end of that trip we'll spend three weeks in Germany doing trying and personal ministry. So we are not letting any dust settle on us.
Blessings on Ya as you see what the future holds.