What are YOU working towards? I asked myself that question about five years ago and I realized that I was working towards a very limited version of my life. Let me explain. At that time, I began to question many things that we do in society and the big area that kept coming up in my mind was retirement. After all, our career planning begins with this end in mind. Is retirement the end of our lives? Does retirement cause our purpose to cease? I had so many thoughts and questions, and I wondered, is this concept of retirement a biblical thing? I will share five insights for you to consider for yourself.
- The word ‘retire’ or it’s concept only appeared once in scripture and referred to a specific type of work and person.
When I searched the scripture, I used NIV and only 1 reference came up.
Numbers 8:24-26 (NIV)
24 “This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the tent of meeting, 25 but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. 26 They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.”
I don’t know about you, but I am not a Levite! Although the Levites at age fifty stopped doing the actual work, they were still assisting, perhaps through mentoring their younger counterparts. I found no other references in the bible to stopping our work when we get to a certain age.
- God is always working and we were made in His likeness. The bible says in John 5:17, In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” So, God is working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Of course, we are not God and have many limitations- our bodies need sleep, nourishment etc., but we were made in God’s likeness and therefore made to work.
- People in the bible that really made an impact in their generation- Moses, Caleb, Joshua, Anna, to name a few, didn’t retire. They worked until they were old and gray in most cases, but, more accurately until they finished what they were called to do! At 65 years old, you are not finished what you have been called to do. God is very purposeful and has numbered our days to complete our race. If you are still alive, then He has more for you to do!
- Older people typically have a wealth of experience walking with the Lord that the younger generations need. In fact, there are several references to the role older women and men should play in our society in the bible. Also, the mentorship or succession planning model is prevalent in the bible. For example, Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, Jesus and His disciples. We are to train up the young or the spiritually young in the way they need to go. In an increasingly ungodly society, this is more important than ever.
- When our bodies die, we, our spirits and soul live on. Jesus Himself said that the wicked “will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). In fact, it says in the bible that our bodies will also be resurrected. (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). Have you stopped to wonder why that is? What are we supposed to do for eternity? Thankfully, the bible answers these questions. It tells us that “His servants will serve him” (Revelation 22:3). So, friends, we will work in heaven BUT the work will not be burdensome as we know it to be now. This came about because of the curse in Gen 3:17-19. Once in heaven, the bible says “they will rest from their labour” (Revelation 14:13). As before the fall of man, we will also work without toiling and with joy!
Give some thought today to what you are working towards.
Is the end all retirement for you? Do you have any good works planned for after 65 years?
Do you need to tweak or revamp your plans for the future to reflect these new insights about retirement?
My prayer is that you run the race that God has set before you, every day of your life; and that you hear at the end of your race, “well done good and faithful servant”!