You are getting to the age where the word “retirement” catches your attention. The concept of retirement is shaped by our culture. When you think of retirement most people think of coasting, focusing on yourself, and sitting by the pool sipping pink lemonade. But that mindset isn’t helpful. If that describes retirement, you should never retire.
Take a moment and review a brief history of retirement. What is this retirement thing? Where did the idea originate? What does it mean for you?
It’s important to start at the beginning. Too many people have the wrong idea of work. They see at as a curse. And if they go back to the book of Genesis they point to the place in the story where Adam was kicked out of the Garden of Eden to “cultivate the ground.” (Gen. 3:23) Work, therefore, must be part of the curse. But they forget the context. A few verses earlier the ground, as a result of sin, now bears thorns making work more difficult.
A close study of Genesis 2-3 reveals a surprise. Before sin entered the world God placed Adam in the Garden “to cultivate and keep it.” (Gen. 2:15) God created man to work. Work is not a curse. The opposite is true: it is a gift from God.
Read the Bible and search for the word retirement. Look for the concept of resigning and sitting in the easy chair to watch Matlock reruns. Here’s what you will find. There’s one passage where the Levites were required to resign but it isn’t the same concept as retirement. There are other issues at play. The Bible is silent on the concept of retirement.
Instead of reading about retirement in the Bible, you will discover old people getting fired up and going on to do great things. There’s not enough time to point you toward all the examples. But study the life of Abraham to get started. God uses the young AND old to accomplish his purpose.
Where did the concept of retirement come from?
Not until 1881 did the idea gain any attention. Otto von Bismarck, the president of Prussia, came up with the idea for the government to provide financial support for the older people of the country. This introduced a radial idea: there comes an age when you stop working, sit back, and receive financial support. Eight years later the government had a plan in place to financially support those over 70.
And so it began. Departing from the biblical concept of adding even more value as you age, society now determines that you will add less value. I’ve written a lot about this elsewhere. If you want to see my thoughts on this subject click HERE.
It’s time for you to join the retirement rebellion. Be a rebel. Forget about retirement.
The alternative to the word retire is the ReFIRE concept. Life after 55 can be the best and most fulfilling of your entire journey. You just need to ReFIRE.
It’s true, Randy. I’m busier now that I have been retired (8 years) than I ever was working. In fact, I don’t know how I had time to work!!
Randy, I don’t look at retirement as a time to receive financial support. Every bit of support I receive, including Social Security, is money that I saved and worked for. I loved my work, but in retirement I have been enabled to do things I never would have been able to do while I was working, like spending this week with my grandkids while their dad donates a kidney in Baltimore. My work actually prepared me for retirement. It enabled me to use my skills in doing things of value to my church and my volunteering efforts. I am with you on the idea of just sitting by the pool drinking lemonade isn’t Gods plan, but, boy, there are days I wish I could do that! Keep on writing. Your words inspire me.
Thanks Beth for your kind words. It sounds to me like UR doing GREAT in your post-career life! My main message is that when we leave our careers we should not just sit around and live life focused on ourselves. This is the time in life where we have so much to offer. And some people just can’t afford to retire in the traditional sense. But that’s OK if they can find work that is fulfilling and meaningful. Take care!
This is great Randy, and it’s right on target. We’ve had the greatest time of our lives after leaving gainful employment and God inspired us to prepare for the time we could be in His service.
John, you are the poster-child for making your life count!