Working for God Is What Matters Most
I’ve worked from home since 2000. Over the years curious neighbors, seeing me at home during the day, have asked if I’m retired. I smile and shake my head. More recently the question has shifted to “When are you going to retire?” Again, I shake my head. Retirement isn’t on my radar.
In truth I’m not planning on retiring—ever. My hope is that I’ll be able to write until the day I die. Toward that end, I pray that my writing will continue to improve throughout the rest of my career. God is not calling me to retire but to write. My purpose is to advance his kingdom through my words.
I need to have a reason to get up each morning—and for me that is to write. If I didn’t have work to look forward to, I fear I would squander my day, filling it with secondary activities and useless pursuits. Retirement could do that for me.
Retirement From Work
For some, labor emerges as a draining drudgery that they can’t wait to escape. They work to earn a living and as soon as they retire, they’ll let their retirement benefits and investments pay their bills without the need to toil to receive a paycheck.
Others retire out of necessity. The physical demands of their labors have taken a toll on their bodies, making work an increasingly difficult or painful task. Or it could be that the mental acuity needed to perform at peak levels has slipped enough to make continued work inadvisable. These cases all call for retirement.
Then there is mandatory retirement, usually age related.
I hear of people retiring at fifty-five or in their forties, even as young as thirty-eight. What will they do with the rest of their life? Given our increasing life expectancies, they could end up with more years retired than worked.
Never Retire from God
Though we may opt to or need to retire from work, we shouldn’t adopt a similar attitude toward God. What he calls us to do for him doesn’t have a retirement age. We should continue our labors for him for as long as he gives us breath.
Each new day is a gift, and we shouldn’t waste it. We should wake with anticipation on our minds: “God, what are we going to do today?”
Yes, the details of our work for God may change as we age, but the privilege to live a life of service to him never ends.
I often hear people talk about their retirement plans, of what they’ll do when they retire. Of all the extra time they’ll have to serve God. Though they may be too busy now, they’ll have plenty of time once they retire. Except that they usually don’t have more time.
Many a retiree has told me, “I’m way busier now than when I was working.” I suspect that if they’re not serving God when they’re working, they’ll not find the time to do so when they retire.
Therefore, don’t wait to serve God when it’s more convenient or you expect to have more time. Do it now. By developing the practice of serving God now, you’ll be in a better position to continue that—or even expand on it—when retirement rolls around.
Do It Now
What is God calling you to do? What are you passionate about or interested in? Seek ways to pursue these things now. Don’t put them off until later, because later may never come.
If you’re already retired from work, how can you use your retirement years to better serve God. And if you’re looking forward to retirement, there’s no need to change course. Just make an adjustment to what you do now, so that retirement can move you into a more God-honoring season in your life.
Though you can retire from work, don’t retire from God.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.