As many of you know by now, I have retired...not from housework which is never ending but from working outside the home PLUS housework. It has been a rich season of life as I have worked alongside my husband over the years in his optometric practice. In fact, I have had many different types of jobs at various times. I worked in radio broadcasting, a bookkeeping department at a bank, public relations for the Ohio Optometric Association, an independent Christian book seller, an independent vitamin and health business, 21 years devoted to home educating our four children and a successful Mary Kay business. Off and on, I worked in my husband's office as an optometric tech and insurance biller. Now I have come to a different season in my life. Family time, writing, reading, working in my home and continuing to serve the Lord as He leads shall be my focus. After all, Christians do not retire from serving the Lord.
God foreknows and foresees all things and He knows how our bodies age. Therefore, even in the Old Testament times, God made provision for this season of life. In Numbers 8:23-26, the Lord gave this command concerning the Levites: "And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. And from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more. They minister to their brothers in the tent of meeting by keeping guard, but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.” We see in these verses that God established a time for active duty and a time when this work shall come to an end. Notice that the Levites continued to come to the place of worship even though they were not actively doing the physical work.
Paul is a great example of someone who worked hard both as a tentmaker and a servant of the Lord until the time of his imprisonment. Even then, Paul did what he was able to do in those circumstances. He wrote great letters to the churches and continued to see those allowed to visit him during his confinement. His forced retirement in prison brought forth even more fruit in his service for God. We can see his attitude in Acts 20:24: "But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." Paul merely wanted to go on serving the Lord until he was called home to heaven. This should be the way we approach those days when we cease from working in a job.
Too often, there are those who think that retirement means we can withdraw from serving Christ, quit going to church, and in general, withdraw from everyone. Even with physical limitations, however, people can still be very useful in Christian service. I am reminded of a dear saint who has recently gone home to be with the Lord. While she could not get out and about, she did have a blessed ministry. She sent cards for birthdays and wedding anniversaries faithfully. I looked forward to hearing from her each year because it was such an encouragement.
Every one of us is called by God for a purpose according to our season of life. As circumstances and physical changes take place, so do the types of ministries which the Lord opens before us. We will not fully retire until our course has been completed in this world.
For those who have retired, there is much work to be done for the kingdom and one thing we can all do daily is pray...pray for our church, our nation, our pastors, the sick and the bereaved. We can visit nursing homes or make phone calls to encourage others or even assist in folding church bulletins. There are endless possibilities as the Lord leads in our lives.
I am thankful for the many years I have been able to serve in many different jobs...especially the years I had to teach our children at home. God has been good to me and I am looking forward to the new adventures that lie ahead in this season of life. No matter what season we are in, though, God never wants us to retire from serving Him. We were made to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. Selah!