Is the concept of retirement in the Bible?
There’s one reference to retirement and it’s in the book of Numbers. The Levite priests were to retire from their priestly duties at the age of 50.
Besides that, God is silent on the matter.
But he is not silent regarding the concept of work and purpose.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you, not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Crown Financial says that we should view retirement as an opportunity for “repurposement” rather than a cessation of work.
“The problem with today’s attitude towards retirement is that it completely negates an integral aspect of God’s design – that we were created to work. It also normalizes something that was never intended to be normal – not working.”
So what is our new work? Our new purpose?
Crown says that the Biblical view of retirement is —
“Freeing up our time to devote to serving others more fully without the necessity of getting paid for it. It is time to repurpose how and why we invest our time and resources.”
Back to those Levites from the Old Testament. Upon being released from their duties, they did not join a golf club and work on their chipping and putting; they did not devote hours to perfecting their down-the-line backhand. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those activities. I am still trying to get out of a sand trap in less than four attempts!)
The Bible says that the retired Levites were to “assist their brothers in performing their duties.”
So we retirees can “assist”. We can assist our church, our neighbors, our families, the homeless, or a cause we are passionate about.
The Bible also says we are to think of the next generation.
“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” Psalm 71
So maybe you want to become a “cuddler” — a holder of babies in the NICU of a hospital.
Maybe you want to work with therapy horses, as Joy has done.
Or maybe you can simply devote extra time (which we have) to praying for the sick.
Or if you are a knitter (which I am not), you can make hats or blankets for those in need.
Whether we are knitters, pray-ers, cuddlers, God seems to be saying that our re-purposement is to assist others.
We should, however, take exception to that phrase, “old and gray”. We may be old, but we don’t HAVE to be “gray”, right?
In fact, I find myself getting more blonde as the years go by — a miracle of Red Sea proportions.
Or a testimony to the skill set of my hairdresser, whom I see with increasing regularity.
Today’s Takeaway –
-I just discovered that being a NICU “cuddler” is a sought after role. Se we need to apply today!
-And it’s OK to get better at exiting a sand trap or becoming blonder with the passing years. It’s just a matter of knowing what truly matters when it’s all said and done. And most likely it’s holding a sick or premature baby while sitting in a rocking chair in a NICU.
Enjoy the ride!
Barclay and Joy