10. Looking Forward: “RETREAD” or “RETIRE”

LOOKING FORWARD:  “RETREAD” or “RETIRE”

It’s hard to admit, but I think I’m getting “old”. I may still think and act like a kid sometimes, but my body is telling me it is far past its prime (not that it was ever so “prime” in the first place!). If the aches and pains that accompany my life journey were not enough evidence to that fact, there seems to be a commercial on the TV about every 10 minutes about my fellow members of the “baby boomer” generation reaching retirement age. What’s frustrating is that all the “boomers” they show on the commercials don’t seem to have a care in the world and have established a financial nest egg that will let them golf, fish, and travel without a thought. Somewhere I must have taken the wrong turn!

I have to admit, I haven’t thought much about “retirement”. In fact, I don’t really plan to retire if the old body will hold out. I actually can’t see much purpose in the whole concept. I’ve heard one too many stories about those who have “retired” soon getting bored, losing their sense of purpose, and sitting around the house longing for the days when they had something more productive to do.

The whole concept of “retiring” seems to run contrary to how God made us. The men in the Bible didn’t seem to retire, and I think I know why! They had something worthwhile to do!! Don’t get me wrong……I know sooner or later I will have to slow down. I imagine some of you have a hard time believing that will ever happen, but I’m enough of a realist to face the fact that my seemingly endless supply of energy and enthusiasm will someday reach predictable limits. I doubt if I will ever become a quiet, reserved wallflower type, but I know sooner or later getting from here to there is going to take longer than it used to!  Now in my 60’s  I’m already aware that I can’t do the things I did at 30 without paying for it later! What a bummer that is! My mind still remembers the moves, and my heart can be just as enthused, but the body says, “you’ve got to be kidding me!”

The point is, while I may have to slow down to the inevitable reality of age, I don’t want to “retire”. I’d rather be “retreaded”. My purpose and responsibilities may change, but I still want to focus on being a productive member of society, and more importantly a productive member of God’s Kingdom in a place of genuine service.

I’m impressed when I see examples of those who have passed their peak physically, but are reaching new heights in productivity in one realm or another. It’s the author who produces more books after 60 than they did before going over the hill; the preacher who has more fire in his belly and knowledge in his head than he did when he came right out of seminary like a firebrand; it’s the businessman who takes his experience to mentor the next generation of leaders; or perhaps the elderly Christian who has found new purpose in going on short term mission trips around the world or financing others in such endeavors. These people have retired” from their former life and responsibilities, but they have been “retreaded” for brand new adventures.

I have to admit, I get tired of the same old routines at times. I’m one of those guys who would always like to start something new rather than maintain something that is already established. I can’t help but think that in my impending “golden years” God will still give me some opportunities to take some of the things I’ve learned along my life journey and put them to use somewhere else to make a difference.

Perhaps we all need to worry a little less about “retirement” and focus our thoughts and energy on what it would mean to be “retreaded”. We may wear out doing the “old things”, but God can enlarge our vision and give us a renewed sense of purpose in another area. While I would certainly love to travel and have complete financial freedom, that’s less important to me as I think ahead than having a meaningful opportunity to invest my time, talent and energy in something I can believe in. I don’t think I need to build a “nest egg” first and foremost as I approach my latter years —– I think I just need the assurance that I will be able to keep “building” something that truly makes a difference in the lives of those around me. That would truly make my future something worth being called “GOLDEN”.

Available to be Retreaded!