Don’t Retire; Re-tire

Worn tire treadWhen 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.

There is a growing movement among Baby Boomers at or approaching retirement age to re-tire their lives.  Many are purposefully entering “encore careers” motivated by passion rather than a paycheck.

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.

Finally, there is no retirement from following Jesus.  As long as we are able, we are to press on, to run the race of life well, and to accomplish the work that God has prepared for each of us to do.

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?

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20 Responses to Don’t Retire; Re-tire

  1. Pingback: Life Stage Whiplash | Connecting Dots…to God

  2. Tim says:

    My Dad is going to turn 90 this year, and he’s been retired sicne age 63. But he has not been sitting still, and continues to serve in church and the community. For me, I have a ways to go before retirement, but figure that i will also be looking at an encore career of some sort. Maybe I’ve already started developing that with this new foray into blogging and writing. Who knows?

    • Judy says:

      You have a wonderful example in your father! And based on what I’ve seen of your blog, I’d say you’re not the kind of person who will sit still for long.

  3. Judy, these are truly wise and timely words for baby boomers. I heard a recent study report that people who do not fully stop working are healthier and happier. We plan to do volunteer work and part-time self-employment.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

  4. I remember my pastor talking about this not too long ago, and he said, “Pastor’s don’t retire.” I realized then that I couldn’t think of a single example of a person who intentionally stopped working int the Bible….

  5. Helen Henderson says:

    At 57 I am with you Judy! I am re…tiring never retiring! I just do not know exactly what to do with the next part of my life. I am going to try tons of new things to figure it out though! Great Blog!!

  6. Beth Foreman says:

    Love the re-tire metaphor, Judy! God’s blessings as you and hubby figure out the encore career. As we’ve often said, “I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up,” but I’m seeking His wisdom as I turn every corner on these well-used tires (not to stretch your metaphor too far!). Prayers for your adventure.

    • Judy says:

      Thanks Beth. And now to stretch some more…I’m on my third set of “tires,” and I think these still have some life in them. What remains to be seen is whether I’ll need to re-tire in order to keep up with Dan’s new set. It is an adventure, and we very much appreciate your prayers!

  7. Kent says:

    I stepped away from the retail customer service treadmill in January of 2012, having spent all my life in the restaurant/retail trade. I blame Francis Chan! Ha ha! I currently call myself “semi-retired” but, at 50, I’m a long way from being retireable (that’s a word, right? 🙂 ) At the time, I could not bring to reconciliation my working ‘persona’ and my faith; I was robbing my kids and family of my time and energy in pursuit of what i thought was security and ‘a future’.

    In the time away from ‘work’ I have grown closer to my family, reconnected with my kids (most especially my eleven-year-old son), gotten involved with several ministries at our church, and most importantly, grown closer and more secure in my relationship with my Lord and Savior than I had in the previous ten years I’d worked for Barnes & Noble. The biggest struggles I have faced are the whispering questions of the enemy of doubt (is this really God’s will for my life?), and fear (what am I getting my family into?). Still, I rest in the security of knowing that God has my best interest at heart and indeed has a plan and purpose for my ‘next step’. (Matthew 6:25-34, Philippians 4:4-7)

    I would do it again in a heartbeat!

    • Judy says:

      Thank you Kent. My husband’s story is very similar to yours. (He’d do it again too.) And, we know that doubting voice all too well. It is a great encouragement to hear of others who have taken God at his word and trust Him to be their security. It can be a wild ride – I’m learning to enjoy it! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Judy

  8. coastalmom says:

    I love a good metaphor and this was wonderful!

  9. Caddo-Jael says:

    You know I’ll be praying for/with you, Judy. I like the concept of re-tiring (and mentoring). Although I’ve been out of the work force for quite awhile, and my writing career/blog is not a paying job, I prefer to think that I’m finally doing the work I was meant to do–which God has equipped me for, and put in my hands. And the compensations far outweigh a paycheck, with less stress to “perform” for it! God bless you Big–love, sis Caddo

  10. Larry Who says:

    As for me, I will never retire. A perfect last day on earth for me would be preaching on a street corner, causing a riot for the truths in the gospel, and then God taking me home whatever way He desires. We’ll have plenty of time in eternity to rest.

  11. Debbie says:

    I really like this idea of re-tire, Judy. 🙂 I know at some point I may not physically be able to do the same things I do now, but pray with you that God would still give me something to do! God bless you!

    • Judy says:

      I am absolutely sure that he will, Debbie. It’s interesting that I can confidently affirm that truth for someone else and then fight to believe it for myself. It’s re-tiring process is an exercise in faith. May he keep you ever fruitful!

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