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Archive for June, 2009

Hello,

I have been pondering lately my plans for the future, and in all of my planning, I have hit a snag. For some time (decades), I have hoped to retire at 55 after 30 years with my company, build a nice mountain home in the alpine region of Northern Arizona, and settle into the rewarding life of being a grandpa. Being with family (my wife and girls and their families) has always been what I aspired to in retirement life, but as I grow older and see things aren’t going to be as I romanticized, I am questioning whether I have stopped to consider where God fits in with my post career life.  My dream retirement would be to live in the mountains with my wife in our cabin, a nice large cabin on some land, to own and ride horses, and to have my girls and their families come up to our place on weekends, vacations, and holidays to enjoy relaxing time away from the city with us.  We would ride horses, go fishing, picnic, and enjoy rainy afternoons on the porch in our rockers, relaxing our golden years away, ahhh, doesn’t this sound relaxing? So where is the snag, you ask?

I have spent most of my life trying (but not always succeeding) in being a good husband, father, employee and other various pursuits. When not working, mowing, going to soccer, tennis, or softball games and practice, I was cooking, cleaning, hiking, fishing or hunting. Sometimes raising a family should be considered a sport, as you sure seem to run a lot. I have always looked upon retirement as a time in life when I will stop to smell the roses, the reward at the end of the race. My snag is this, has God, and serving him always been out in front, and sadly, I must say no. So here I am, ten years away from possible retirement, and already looking to the reward in my late life. Should we be hanging things up when we retire, or maybe devoting ourselves full time to God and his service? As long as there are unsaved people in the world, can we justify slowing down, or do we need to kick it up a notch? My minister said something about six months ago that has stuck with me. The most educated, skilled, and financially stable group of people in the world are the retiree’s. They all have 40+ years of experience, they usually have money in the bank, but they have something more valuable than either of those two things, they have time.

We spend our lives devoting our time to everyone and everything under the sun, should we maybe consider trying to make a dent in the ministry. We are commanded to go throughout the world and preach to every living thing. God is not just calling those who have chosen to work full time as paid ministers or missionaries, but everyone who takes His Son as their Savior. We are all ministers, it doesn’t take a degree to tell someone about Christ, or help feed the hungry, or be a friend to someone who is sad or grieving. There is a place in the ministry for anyone, quiet or outgoing, rich or poor, young or old, we can all find a place to work in God’s kingdom.

The last few generations have trained us to think we must have a big chunk of money in the bank for retirement, as this will be our security. We have also been taught to think we should retire between 55-65 and just sit back and relax until we die (on our pile of cash). I have seen many times when people will retire with a large estate, sit on it for 15 years, and then die wealthy. The estate is sold off for pennies on the dollar, the money is given to the children, where it is usually squandered, as money unearned is never appreciated. How much more useful that would have been had it been used to spread God’s word, feed some people, help a single mom. I am trying real hard to change my views on such matters. Raising a family, loving and being loved by them, these things are wonderful, and they will forever dominate my mind as the good times, the memories I cherish the most, but now that my work raising my family is nearly done, I need to focus on what the next part of my life will entail. I have given 45 years of my life to everything under the sun, and God has taken whatever scraps were left, now it is time to serve him. He has waited long enough! I want to be the best sower of God’s seed I can be, and my security will be Him, not a pile of money sitting in the bank. I challenge you to consider breaking out of the traditional mindset also.

God be with you.

JFT

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