Retirement from your occupation doesn’t mean retiring from life. In secular terms, retirement is typically seen as an extended holiday, but Christians often find themselves busier in their retirement years. Whether it’s spreading the word of Christ, giving back to the community by volunteering, or financial planning for your family, a purposeful retirement plan covers both the practical and the spiritual.
1. Stay purposeful and productive
While the Bible rarely mentions retirement directly, we can take inspiration from the following in recognising that change in life happens, but it doesn’t mean we stop pursuing meaningful things as we get older and retire.
- “The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green.” (Psalm 92:12-14)
- “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.” (Acts 20:24)
- “And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.” (Luke 1:23)
Finding inspiring pursuits could help you serve God, live longer by staying engaged, and contribute to the ministry for the next generations.
Benefits of staying purposeful
Without a plan, your life can feel empty in retirement as your children establish their own households. With a detailed plan for retirement, you can avoid this ‘slump’ and stay productive and purposeful.
Beyond the immediate benefits of keeping busy and interested in life, staying purposeful could be good for your health. Studies show those who feel like they have direction or purpose in life live longer. Additionally, people with a deep sense of meaning and purpose in life and in doing good for others tend to be happier and genetically healthier.
Staying active in ministry
One of the ways Christians can stay active in retirement is in playing a part in ministry and helping build up the coming generations of Christians. Developing mentor relationships with others in your church and community groups enables you to pass on the Christian knowledge and insights you’ve accumulated over decades. Have a sense of value in the wisdom you’ve gained as a senior member of your community and be ready to contribute and guide.
Exalting God in other ways
Christian theologian J.I. Packer suggests Christian seniors can continue to glorify God in three ways.
- Living for God day by day – Live for God one day at a time by planning each day carefully and checking back to see whether you’ve achieved your goals.
- Living in the present moment – We can practice God’s presence by living in the present moment, as opposed to daydreaming or indulging in regret about the past.
- Live ready to go for Christ – We can prepare for when Christ comes for us by “living ready to go.” This means taking care of things like updating your will and making funeral arrangements, as well as staying with God right until the last moment.
Other ideas for expanding your horizons as you stay purposeful
You can celebrate Christ outside of your church groups, as well as within. Staying physically active, connecting with other generations, and maintaining your hobbies and social circle are ways to keep expanding your horizons during retirement. It can take some exploring to find out what you enjoy doing in retirement.
- Explore physical activity – Join a gym, sign up for your local lawn bowls group, and book yourself in for that aquatic aerobics class you’ve always wanted to try out. Invite your friends along or be open to making new friends.
- Old and new hobbies – Keep up with your hobbies and be open to exploring new ones. Whether you’re interested in gardening, knitting, hiking, dancing, or the arts, use the extra time to do more of what you love and try something new.
- Take a course – Take a computer class to hone your IT skills or look into subject areas you’ve always wanted to learn about.
- Engage with other generations – Mentor, volunteer to teach English, or babysit the grandkids. Connecting with young people can keep you alert and allow you to pass on your Christian wisdom to others.
2. Contribute to the community
- “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
As this quote highlights, community contribution is a vital part of being Christian. As you plan your retirement days, look for ways to contribute in your local community. Volunteer your skills at the local food bank, shelter, or library. Look for opportunities to preach, teach, and train others in Christian wisdom.
3. Supporting yourself and your family
Money is a means by which we can achieve the desires God has placed in our hearts. Being able to support yourself and your family through retirement, and possibly leaving a legacy for your family, will be crucial to your retirement planning.
Budgeting well is important, as well as spending your retirement nest egg responsibly. Align your financial plan to your retirement goals, and you’ll have the means to achieve them. As a Christian, you’ll want to make sure your nest egg is invested ethically, so seek out ethical investment funds that abide by Christian principles.
Retirement is about achieving a balance in the way we continue to glorify God and celebrate Christ. Practical considerations like financial planning and investing are vital, but so is enjoying your hobbies and finding ways to give back to the community.
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