When the tires are worn but the vehicle is still road worthy, you don’t retire the machine; you replace the tires. Similarly, when a person’s chosen career or vocation becomes tired, flat or worn, there is no need to retire from productive life; he or she has the option to re-tire.
Will this generation change the way we view and live in “retirement?”
I hope so.
Retirement as we know it is a product of our culture, and it made sense during the height of the industrial age when work was more physical and life-spans were shorter. Today people are living longer and more of us are working with data, information and ideas rather than tractors, tools and steel.
Many of today’s retired are energetic, highly skilled, physically healthy, mentally sharp, and with big enough hearts to share their gifts with others. The possibilities are staggering.
The Bible says little that is directly applicable to our concept of retirement, but it offers some helpful principles:
The only passage that comes close to addressing retirement is part of the Old Testament regulations for the work of the Levites in the temple. They were to work from age 25 to 50, and then “work no longer.” Instead, they were to “assist their brothers…” The Levites had very specific roles in the service of the tabernacle, so to apply this to all work is a stretch. However, perhaps we can infer that God desired an orderly training and transition process between the experienced men and the upcoming generation. Therefore, a general application might be for us to mentor and prepare those coming behind us.
On the other hand, Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died after leading the nation of Israel for forty-plus years. God has been known to keep his people busy well into their later years.
My husband and I have no intention of retiring. (Um, just to be clear, we are not yet at retirement age:). We are trying to figure out how to most fruitfully re-tire our lives. I admit that it is a bit challenging. (Prayer is much appreciated!)
I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts on this subject. How do you view retirement? How have you or are you planning to re-tire?