Merriam-Webster dictionary online defines retirement as:
· an act of retiring: the state of being retired
· withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life
· the age at which one normally retires
Retirement-- a state of being we all want to get to someday. Now, circumstances in life may play a large role on when this takes place, along with what we want to do in our “retirement years”. As my years on this earth pile up more and more, that state of being is looking better and better, especially the withdrawal from one’s active work life. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to work and be active, but more in control of those activities and work.
What about the phrase “Christian Retirement”? Ever think about that? Some thoughts may go toward a Christian Retirement Center, which I am glad we have to help brothers and sisters as they get older. But, we never really retire from being a Christian. Well you may, but I think that would be called falling away, which is not a good thing.
So if we never retire from being a Christian, that means we are constantly at work. Let’s look at that work for a second. And since we are in Michigan, let’s say you work for Ford. No matter what you do from working in the office, to being a design engineer to assembling vehicles on the assembly line, the focus is making cars. Similarly when we are at work for God, we may have different jobs, but our focus must be heaven. After all that is the business, so to speak, that Jesus was in: reconciling people to God, ie. getting us to heaven. So the work we are constantly focused on is people being in heaven.
Much like the employees at Ford, we may preform different “tasks” as our contribution called work. You may be great at inviting someone out to our service, special event or activity that we have here. Maybe you are great with kids and help in the children’s class, both helping the kids to know about God and allowing their parents to be in class. Maybe you are great at sitting down with someone just be there when they need someone to listen. It could be that you are great at getting with someone and opening God’s word to show what it says about the path to heaven. Aren’t we all grateful that there were people like that who sat down with us? We could list more, but I think you get the picture. All kinds of tasks are needed to be filled by us as we help people know of God’s love, and stay close to God and not fall away, so we all end up in heaven.
So what about that “Christian Retirement”? Well, it’s kinda like the old song in our songbooks. The chorus goes “We’ll work till Jesus comes and then be gathered home”. Now the work you do may change over the years. As you get more comfortable with the scriptures you may start sitting down with people and opening God’s word. As the years drag on you may shift from doing the “heavy lifting” to more of a supportive role in activities around the building. You may get more comfortable with kids and start teaching, or less tolerant and stop, both valid. Regardless, we are here to help each other as we work for the Kingdom until Jesus comes to provide us with a retirement that is grander than anything on this earth.
Working toward retirement,