This past week I attended a “retirement party (not really retiring)” for a friend.
Now, this person didn’t use that expression, but it does represent what my friend is doing. He has served in pastoral ministry for nearly 50 years and is now transitioning from leading a church to being an active member and contributor as an adviser to other pastors.
“Then, is he really retiring?” you might wonder. Well, that is the “not really” part that I mentioned above.
Many are finding that, after years of anticipation, they are just not ready to “quit” altogether after reaching the traditional retirement age, and that reality is why I am writing this. I have spoken to numerous friends who found that once they left their office or sold their business, they had to have another passion into which they could pour themselves.
One of my favorite biblical characters from the Old Testament is Caleb. He, along with Joshua, were the only two spies who went to survey the promised land and came back with a positive report.
Time proved that his optimism and faith in God were not only visible in that incident, but they were part of his life and character. Forty-five years later, at the age of 85, when he was about to receive the promised inheritance as a reward for his faith in God, he said:
“I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming.” ~ Joshua 14:11 ESV
What an amazing story of an even more amazing and inspiring man. Now, I only wish that I could say that my strength today is the same as it was 45 years ago!
But I do believe that we can maintain a positive, visionary outlook while we do the very best job possible in keeping our physical bodies as healthy and strong as we can.
And when we do that, we will find ourselves ready for our next chapter. God’s purposes for us are from cradle to grave, and we don’t have to consider ourselves finished just because we come to the end of a season.
When that day arrives, it is merely time for another season—and God will provide for us then as he has.
If you are approaching that transition, see it as that, and not an ending. You might be surprised at the horizons and activities that are available. Stay strong in the Lord. Grab hold of God’s inheritance, and embrace His plan for you.