If you have reached retirement age or are past it, congratulations. You deserve it. After decades of work, alarm clocks, and tired evenings, you have a well-earned rest coming to you.
But please don’t retire. At least not completely.
I’ve encountered too many older adults who, while retiring from employment, retired from everything else. But life is still to be lived, and you still have much to offer.
- Diane Nyad swam from Cuba to Florida at age 64. She did this unaided (no shark tank).
- Colonel Sanders started KFC at age 65.
- Noah Webster completed his dictionary at age 70.
- Oscar Swahn earned an Olympic medal at age 72.
- Peter Roget invented the thesaurus at age 73. In his old age, elderliness, and autumn of life, that was truly, surely, beyond doubt a momentous, pivotal, and weighty enterprise and undertaking.
- Grandma Moses started painting at age 76.
- John Glenn went into space at age 77.
- Theodor Mommsen received the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature at age 85.
- Dorothy Davenhill Hirsch went to the North Pole at age 89.
- Gladys Burrill ran a marathon at age 92. It was her fifth race in seven years.
And let’s not forget Moses, who at age 80 was probably ready to retire from shepherding when God called him on a new adventure.
I’m not ignoring the fact that many … er, most seniors can’t go and do quite like they used to. But you can still be of service to the kingdom of God.
Let me approach this from a different perspective. The Bible doesn’t paint a picture of the community’s elders slowing down. The church needs your wisdom and experience. Others are coming right behind you to fill in the gap. They would benefit from what you know. They would benefit from what experience has taught you.
“Wisdom is found with the elderly, and understanding comes with long life” (Job 12:12).
“Planted in the house of the Lord, they thrive in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green” (Ps. 92:13-14).
We also don’t retire from growing in Christ. Even if you accepted Christ as a small child and you’ve now been a Christian for 60+ years, there’s still some growing in Christ you can do. None of us are fully mature and complete in Christ until we are one day in His presence. Use your time to keep reading, praying, and seeking a deeper walk with the One who has walked with you for so many years.
“Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16).
Please don’t retire from your involvement in the body of Christ. Even on those days your health will just not cooperate, you can pray. The kingdom of God will benefit greatly from your time, prayer, experience, and example of Christ. And as you do, God is truly honored.
“God, you have taught me from my youth, and I still proclaim your wondrous works. Even while I am old and gray, God, do not abandon me, while I proclaim your power to another generation, your strength to all who are to come” (Ps. 71:17-18).
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