Advancement versus Retirement

RetiredCouple2_DST_xxl_21826967PART TWO: Retirement – Now What!
A series for Boomers and Beyond

In the first article under this title, “Retirement – Now What!” the dream of retirement was considered. Four questions were listed for further contemplation.

  1. What are you going to do with all those 41,600 hours (40 hours per 52 weeks = 2080 hours X 20 years) that the Lord says you could have awaiting you?
  2. Can you learn more in the last twenty years of your life than you did the first twenty years of your life?
  3. Is there any reason why God would want to keep you here on earth versus taking you to heaven now?
  4. What is your vision for the rest of your life?

The Bible tells us “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he. “(Prov. 29:18) Hopefully, you had an opportunity to find clear answers to these questions and establish your own vision. If not, this second part of the “Retirement-Now What!” series will guide you toward that goal.

A Christian’s View of Retirement

 We have shown the official definition of the word “retirement” is a withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life; and the synonyms being to pullback, pullout, recession, retreat, and withdraw. Do you notice that neither the definition nor the synonyms seems to imply that we should take up something else that fills our time, challenges our talents, or benefits others? The key may lie not in the definition or the synonyms, but in the antonyms — the opposite of the word. The antonyms of retirement are “advance” and “advancement”. These are two words we need to examine regarding retirement for us, as followers of Jesus Christ. Rather than to withdraw from the life of work, perhaps we need to view retirement as an opportunity to advance towards a life of accomplishment.

It isn’t that you and I don’t deserve, according to our American work ethic and laws, to retire from our day job. There is nothing wrong with working for most of our life for a company, saving for the day we don’t have to work and then quitting when that day comes. The real problem comes the day after we retire. Then what?  Is there time for relaxation, hobbies, and travel? Absolutely! But there is also time for advancement.

 The Definition of Advance and Advancement

If we look up the word “advance” in Webster’s Dictionary, it will read very differently from the word “retire.” Advancement is a moving forward, a progress in development, a progressive step: improvement. It also lists definitions such as a rise in value, the first step or approach made, to move toward, to accelerate the growth or progress, to raise to a higher rank, to bring forward or notice, consideration, or acceptance. Finally it tells us to advance is to make progress: to increase. What a wonderful way to begin to think about retirement.

Increase —that is a Biblical word.

An example in God’s Word of a man who advanced or increased was Samuel. We can use the principles of Samuel’s ministry as a pattern for our own. We read in the Bible that Samuel was called at a young age (I Samuel Chapter 3). But even so, there was preparation work he had to do to fulfill his full potential for the Lord.

Samuel’s Preparation for Doing God’s Will and Work

  1. Ministered unto the Lord
  2. Treasured the Word
  3. Maintained the lamp of God in the house of the Lord
  4. Listened for the Lord to speak
  5. Was willing to hear
  6. Expected new things
  7. Dealt with iniquities in his own house, life and heart
  8. Accepted God’s working

Samuel’s Spiritual Gifts

  1. Asked for and used spiritual gifts
  2. Feared that the presence of the Lord could be taken away or withdrawn
  3. Treasured and guarded the presence of the Lord
  4. Understood that God is able to take care of himself

Samuel’s Prayer

  1. Returned unto the Lord with all his heart
  2. Put away strange gods
  3. Prepared his heart
  4. Served the Lord only
  5. Prayed to be heard
  6. Prayed for the Lord’s help
  7. Prayed rightly according to the Lord’s will
  8. Knew the difference between a Godly leader and a “man” leader

What does this example mean to us?

  1. Retirement for the Christian can be different
  2. Retirement doesn’t need to be static; i.e. just filled with recreational activities
  3. For the Christian, retirement can mean:
    1. I am going to retry what I meant to do the first time around.
    2. I am going to try to live the rest of my life with more of what God has in mind for me to do.
    3. I am going to invest myself in learning more the last twenty years of my life than I did the first twenty years.
    4. I now want to advance something in God’s kingdom.
    5. I continue to progress in my development as a person, a Christian and as a servant of the Lord.
    6. My value in the kingdom can be greater than in the work force.
    7. I can invest my time and talents and money knowing that my reward is secure in heaven.
    8. As a believer I am more able to minister to others than at any other time in my life.
    9. According to God’s word in Joel 2:28, I can dream dreams.
    10. I can live in a state of advancing something for God.
    11. I can be brought up into a higher rank of prayer and service.

 Are there some things we should not do? Yes, here are a few:

  1. See all our free time as our playtime.
  2. Slack off in our serving in the local church.
  3. Wait for someone else to tell us what to do.
  4. Wait for someone else to start the ministry that the the Lord wants us to start.

When we stop thinking of retirement as stopping work and begin thinking of it as ‘now I am free to advance something’, we take on a whole new perspective.

  1. What are we moving towards?
  2. What is the process in developing ourselves?
  3. Do we take progressive steps to improvement?
  4. What values are we willing to promote?
  5. What are we planning to increase in our Christian walk in the following days of retirement?

Hidden within the words ‘advance’ and ‘advancement’ is the divine mystery for the rest of our lives.

  1. Could God use us in some productive way in His kingdom?
  2. Could God take us where we live now and give us a vision for our remaining years on earth?
  3. Do we have any idea what God would like to advance through us using our time and talents?
  4. How can we develop a vision so we don’t perish?
  5. How important is our Bible and prayer to us?

Once you have answered these questions with honesty and sincerity, you are ready to begin laying out a plan for advancing into the future.

In the final part of this series we look at ways to put all we have learned to practical use. It’s time to put pen to paper. Be sure to check back  to see what your next steps could be in deciding what the Lord has planned for your next twenty years.

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