What is retirement?


Since the secular side of Christmas

involves taking risks we

wouldn’t attempt

during saner days,

here’s our definition:


retirement – (n) That period of life where we don’t get paid for all the things we still have to do.


For more, use the DOOR.





   Since a couple of posts ago “MORE” yielded only a blank page when we asked what the Bible said about retirement, then either (a) we made a mistake, or (b) we made an implication. Before going further, let’s look at what Oxford¹ says about retirement:


    (1) The action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work, or

   (2)  The period of one’s life after leaving one’s job and ceasing to work.


   If you step back and look, the thing in common here is “work” with the implication that work involves what you usually do to get money to support yourself and those around you. In other words, you end the big thing in your life that makes life beyond the job possible.

   Is that what a Christian does, or is supposed to do end when the paycheck stops and the pension begins? As far as I can tell, aside from things like a priest in the OT had to quit doing certain Temple duties at a certain age, there’s no regs spelled out for what happens when a person’s typical, expected, regular everyday duties end, although there’s a tendency among many Christians who “retire” to say that they’ve “put in their time,” “are done,” or “it’s someone else’s turn.” This sometimes goes so far as to say or infer “I’m going to shop around and find some church where ‘I’m fed the true Gospel’ and then sit around and watch.”

   Pop culture has many comfortable lesser expectations for old folks, but does God? If so, I haven’t found it yet in the Bible. It seems to me that God expects us to go full tilt until we drop.

   But not necessarily doing the same things, or going at the same speed. Older people have a wealth of information and experience that younger people haven’t gotten yet. If old folks take a little bit more time with themselves–and with God–they can become more clever and effective, often doing things younger folks miss.

   So what are old folks supposed to do? In general, look out for themselves, look out for other people, and spend time with God–Bible reading, meditating, and prayer.

   But let’s look at those things in the opposite order, which I think is God’s way as is shown in the Bible. As a child, I learned the chorus, “Jesus and Others and You, that’s a wonderful way to spell JOY.” This fits well with what we’ve discussed before:

   The First and Great Commandment, said Jesus, was to love God with all of one’s heart, mind, strength, and soul.

   The Second Great Commandment is to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. (Note the implication here that a certain kind of self-love is assumed and is important.)

   And Jesus’ parting words were to share the Good News and make disciples.

   We’ve said several times the 3 big overall questions a wise man asks daily as he faces himself in the mirror are these: (1) What is? (2) What matters? and (3) Then what should I do? The next day he repeats those questions–whether retired or pre-retired.

   That’s the big picture. Be ready to change directions now and then.

   Wise old folks are better prepared to see the big picture and make the adjustments necessary to keep “working” till they drop. Why? Because they love God. They can rest later on–on Day Seven.


   ¹ We’ve adapted and peeled back a bit the on-line Oxford Dictionary definition.