Are you primed for a happy retirement? Just a minute. I’m pretty sure God doesn’t want you to ride off into the sunset and have a happy retirement.
I know. You can’t believe I’m saying this. But I believe it’s true. Keep reading. Give me a second to defend my position.
To have an intelligent debate, the terms must be clearly defined. Perhaps disagreement over the title of this article will dissolve as soon as we agree on the definition of “happy retirement”.
In this article, when I talk about happy retirement, I’m referring to the popular view of retirement. I’ve read plenty about how people picture the Golden Years. Ask anyone in the 55-65 age bracket what they think retirement will be like and you will hear things like:
- I will get to go fishing whenever I want.
- Finally I can do some traveling.
- At last, no one can tell me what to do.
- It’s time to focus on what I want.
- This is my time.
- I’m going to spend my kids’ inheritance.
I’m not against any of these things. If you can afford to spend three months in Italy or even live on a cruise ship, I’m happy for you. If you indulge in a few pleasures, such as sleeping every morning until 9:00, no problem. But here’s my point: the common view is that a happy retirement focuses only on the retiree. In this view, the center of the universe becomes the one who wakes up in the morning after the last day of work. But I never see that in the Bible.
What I DO see in the Bible is that life is NEVER all about you. We are taught that the center of the universe is God and only God.
Think about it. Sin happens when we focus on ourselves. By being self-focused we force God out of the equation; or at least to a subordinate position. We start to make decisions based on our own desires, forgetting to consider what God might want.
A happy retirement, as viewed in our culture, doesn’t please God because it is self-centered. And if it doesn’t please God, why would we embrace the concept?
If you think I’ve lost my mind, I challenge you to find anyplace in the Bible which encourages people to adopt a mindset where life is all about the individual. If you really scour the bible looking for evidence to bolster that position, you will see many examples that argue against it.
Think of all the biblical people who refused to focus on having a happy retirement and kept on making a difference in their world long after retirement age:
- Moses was 80 when he stood before Pharaoh and demanded the Israelites be set free.
- Joshua was around the same age when he led the Israelites to conquer the Promised Land.
- Daniel was over 80 when he took a stand and was thrown into the lions den.
- The Apostle Paul was an old man when he was doing missionary work and starting churches.
And when you retire you want to play golf every day and make yourself the center of the universe?
The Bible tells us:
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green…” (Ps. 92:12-14)
God isn’t too interested in you growing old and becoming self-absorbed in a happy retirement. Instead, God wants you and I to head into our retirement years ready to make a difference in our world. He wants you to have a productive retirement.
Make a difference in your world.
People need you to step up your game.
Don’t retire. ReFIRE your life. If this idea interest you, please check out THIS article for more information.
So am I crazy or am I on to something?