Discovering God's Calling in Retirement
O God, out of your love, care, and concern for all of creation, I believe you are active in the world. As I anticipate and embrace my retirement years, help me to align my activity in the world with your activity in the world. Amen.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
At certain times in your life you may have carried the assumption that God calls you once, for just one purpose. Don’t miss the call, or you might spend the remainder of your days in meaningless mediocrity. In reality, it is safe to say that God calls us many times throughout the seasons of our lives, and each call challenges us to stretch further than we might have anticipated or imagined.
Retirement is a reminder that God keeps on calling, regardless of age or stage in life. As you anticipate this change and reflect on it, it’s important to seek deeper meaning from it. While God is always active in your life, moments of life-change provide a window into that activity. But you have to look for it. Consider these questions:
You are called to a new stage in your life. You likely have a bit of anxiety, and a whole lot of wonderment for how this is going to go. One thing is certain. As you respond to this call, you will discover an aspect of God that you have not seen or experienced before. Place your trust in God, say ‘yes’ to the call as best you can, and give it your all.
Retirement certainly means a change in your life. In his book, Managing Transitions, William Bridges writes that transitions always start with an ending. Seems odd, yes, but he maintains that the first step toward a life change is identifying what you are losing and learning how to manage the losses.
According to Dr. Richard Johnson, author of Creating a Successful Retirement: Finding Peace and Purpose (Liguori), there are five major rewards that people get from working: money, time management, a sense of purpose, social interaction, and status. Johnson writes that people still need those things in retirement, but they look at them differently and get them in different ways. None of those needs are met through watching television, and yet research shows that retirees spend twice as much time watching television as do working people—about four hours a day. “If I were to write a prescription for creating depression, that would be it,” says Johnson. In contrast, many retirees still fulfill their basic needs and are happy; these people are far too busy to watch much television.
Reflect and/or Discuss
As you anticipate your retirement years. . .
Take a few moments to reflect on these questions. Jot down your responses, or discuss them with your group.
O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.
What's Emerging in My Life?
Let’s consider what might be emerging in your life as a result of these changes. As we do so, let us remember a few things that others have discovered about God’s callings in their lives. We can say that responding to God’s call will
likely . . .
Read the article Finding the Good Life in Retirement by Kristen Hannum. Take note that the article tells about a number of people who are thriving in their retirement years:
Write and/or Discuss
O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. (Psalm 139:1-4)
How Should I Live?
Now we seek to turn the corner and fully embrace God’s call for us at this time in our lives. That call is unique to each one of us, but there is a universal desire to leave a mark on the world, however faint, a legacy that shows others we seek to live God’s ideas for us.
Reflect and/or Discuss
Read Hugh Whelchel’s article Christian Retirement. What do you make of this quote from the article?
There is inherent dignity of labor in Scripture, and God calls us to labor in his vineyard until he calls us home. Our labor may not be at one particular job, but we have to be actively productive as long as we possibly can, being faithful to our vocational call to glorify God, serve the common good, and further his kingdom.
Here are five practical tips for getting the most out of retirement:
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green.