Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Devotion 8.24.17

Ask the Pastor...

During a conversation recently, a friend (financial advisor and a very religious man) told me that “retirement is not biblical”. He was half-kidding I think, but certainly the idea of retirement
(the practice of leaving one's job or ceasing to work after reaching a certain age) is a relatively new practice (and even newer as a government policy).  I don’t think there is much about retirement in the Bible.

This is an interesting question, actually there wasn’t a question in there.  The questioner is correct that there are not many Bible verses about retirement, in the sense that we understand retirement at least (putting money aside for the day when we choose not to work).  There are peculiar Bible verses though that bring some thought to the issue, such as “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” Matthew 6:19.  But I believe it to be an interpretive leap to say that saving for retirement is sinful.  The real issue at hand comes in the end of that saying from Jesus, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  And that really becomes the issue.  Not just in retirement but in all life.

Another interesting note is how the church has viewed such issues.  For instance, I know that there was a time when taking out life insurance was considered sinful by some.  It was viewed as gambling on one’s life and not trusting in God to take care of your loved ones.  This isn’t heard much anymore as people are more educated about what life insurance really is used for.  But one could say the same thing about retirement, or any saving account I guess.  But still, the Bible doesn’t support this.  In fact, there are many examples in the Bible of saving for times when life becomes scarce.  That is how Joseph came to power in Egypt after all, interpreting Pharaohs dreams to lead to creating a crop reserve to survive the incoming drought.

This question really comes down to the issue of vocation.

I will say this, in ministry there is no such thing as retirement.  When I am done being a pastor, enjoying what retirement benefits I have, I will find a new way to proclaim Christ to the world around me.  I believe this to be true for all Christians.  Our vocations change in life, but our vocation to serve God in who we are and what we do never goes away.  We are the same servants of Christ and neighbor in whatever context we find ourselves, retirement or not. 

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