“Work in retirement is our way to honor the Lord with a life of labor rather than an idle life of all leisure.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 15, 2023
A time to love…what profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:8-11, NKJV
Retirement is not the best term for a Christian’s season of life after a long career. The only reference to ceasing from work in the Scriptures relates to Moses instructing Levite Priests at age 50 to transition from formal work to informal ministering in the tabernacle (Numbers 8:23-26). Speaking of transitioning from formal work…my friend Sonny, after retiring from a lengthy corporate career, prefers the word repurposed. He sees his new season as an opportunity for service…to his family, and young men, and working to become the best version of himself. Repurposed to work at a different pace in a different place with a different perspective. So, ask God what your work for Him looks like in retirement…and for sure, embrace eternal purposes!
In verse eight, Solomon states a time to love right before he addresses the topic of work. Not by accident, as love-motivated work is the most productive labor. Love for the Lord. Love for others. And, even as the body ages and we enter into our golden years, He has put eternity in our hearts. By design, eternity is more top of mind as we see more clearly our eternal destiny come into focus. Thus, work in retirement is our way to honor the Lord with a life of labor rather than an idle life of all leisure, with no thought of helping another draw closer to God. Instead, follow the example of humble care and service, and work in retirement will have purpose and meaning to continue for God until we meet God. Repurposed to employ a purpose bigger than ourselves.
“Also, He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Alexander Maclaren, the British Baptist minister in the mid-1800s, describes purposeful living and work for Christ’s followers to fear God and keep His commandments. “This Book of Ecclesiastes is rather meant to enforce the truth of the weariness and emptiness of a godless life than of the blessedness of a godly one. It is the record of the struggles of a soul—’ the confessions of an inquiring spirit’—feeling and fighting its way through many errors, and many partial and unsatisfactory solutions to the great problem of life, till he reaches the one in which he can rest. When he has touched that goal, his work is done. And so, the devious way is told in the book at full length, while a sentence sets forth the conclusion to which he was working, even when he was most bewildered. ‘The conclusion of the whole matter’ is ‘Fear God and keep His commandments.’ That is all that a man needs. It is ‘the whole of man.’ ‘All is’ not ‘vanity and vexation of spirit’ then—but ‘all things work together for good to them that love God.”
Now very practically, make eternity in your heart your motivation as you work in retirement to love and serve others in Christ’s name. The joy of being in a community with other Jesus’ followers extinguishes the dark thoughts of being alone…others making you feel known and needed is life-giving. When you work in retirement, you experience the blessing of extra resources to enjoy and give away. Also, in your new season, remember how relational proximity is important. The wisdom of couples having some space so that they avoid… “too much spouse and not enough money, ha!” Work in retirement, and you will increase your emotional, physical, and mental health benefits. When a body keeps moving, a mind keeps thinking, emotions keep caring, and a spirit keeps praying…so a life comes alive to finish well…and is gently propelled by love into eternity to worship and be with the perfect love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
“I [Jesus] must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).
Heavenly Father, lead me to love and labor for you in every season of life through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Write out your game plan to repurpose your work once you officially retire.
Genesis 2:2-3; Proverbs 16:3; James 3:13; Revelation 2:19
Tauren Wells, Elevation Worship: Joy In The Morning
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