It’s a huge, confusing puzzle to solve, but should we? Can we actually take control of the wheel and steer life to a fruitful retirement? Ross Piper, CEO of ChristianSuper, helps us understand God’s role in this extraordinary stage of life. There are fruits to be gained when He is the Lord of the harvest.
You may have heard it said that ‘life begins at forty’ or ‘life begins at fifty’ or ‘life begins at…’ Insert whatever age you happen to be turning that year!
I’ve always appreciated the concept of seasons in life. As I look back over my professional, personal, and faith journey, I can clearly see how the concept of seasons has found expression in my life.
As we think about seasons in life, and more particularly, the latter stages of a person’s career and moving into retirement, challenges arise especially when a person has a strong sense of identity that is closely linked with their professional vocation. With the commencement of retirement, there can be a sense of an ending, or conclusion of ‘valued’ work. This can be troubling for many.
However, there is a different perspective that is worthy of consideration.
Retirement is a beautiful blank page
I’m always encouraged when I hear stories of people for whom retirement is actually a new beginning. They share how God continues to work in their lives through retirement in unexpected and profound ways.
Richard Rohr’s book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. says “great love is always a discovery, a revelation, a wonderful surprise, a falling into ‘something’ much bigger and deeper that is literally beyond us and larger than us.” Retirement does not need to be a diminishing season by the conclusion of ‘paid’ work, but rather a new and rich season of growth in faith and service that God, who is love, has prepared for us.
A fruitful retirement is through His hands
Throughout all that we experience in our lives, God works to refine our character. It is in this regard that retirement can be a season where the fruit of mature character is most abundantly expressed. The experience and perspective of a lifetime of service can be so beneficial to those around us, especially younger generations.
We are challenged in Scripture to embrace a posture of humility and surrender to become the people God wants us to become, so we can most effectively build up His kingdom. This applies in all seasons of life, but in my view, especially in retirement where there are so many opportunities to leverage and apply the skills and character developed in our earlier years.
And it’s not just skills and character that we use in this stage of life, but also financial resources.
Retirement is a season where we aspire to have the means to live in a way that enables us to function well, serve, and love those around us. Or as many famous people have said, “Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.”
It isn’t over until you cross the finish line
Whilst there can certainly be challenges in retirement, it can also be a season of extraordinary generosity, both in financial and non-financial terms. We are all called and challenged to love God and love our neighbour in all seasons of our lives. The potential for increased availability of time, experience, or other resources during retirement means that we can anticipate a rich season of fruitful service.
A passage from Psalm 92:12-15, speaks beautifully to this:
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
God has a plan and purpose for all of us in every season of life, and there is something very special about the latter years, especially for those who approach it as a time of purposeful retirement. Be open to this and you’ll be surprised at the many ways He will work through you!
This article was first published by ChristianSuper.
To read more articles about retirement, click here.
Author Bio: Ross Piper
is CEO of Christian Super. Previously he served as Chief Operating Officer of World Vision Australia. With over 25 years of experience in leadership and management roles across the finance and not-for profit sectors, his previous roles also include Head of Corporate Risk at Macquarie Group and Senior Director of Operations, Middle East and Eastern Europe at World Vision International, where he was closely engaged with a number of peer microfinance programs. Ross is married to Sarah, and they have four children.