“I have been reading your blog, and something has changed with you. I want to know about it,” said my buddy, Jim, visiting from Los Angeles.
He is the business development guy for Asuza Pacific University, which is just outside Los Angeles. APU is a Christian college. He got my name five years ago from my nephew who is an alum.
Why I first agreed to meet with him, I don’t remember. I have never given Jim a dime, but we have become very close friends. Every time he is in Atlanta to do his fundraising, he stops by to talk about faith, work, and family. We have learned a lot from each other.
We are not afraid to ask each other very personal questions. Maybe because there is nothing to lose. We think alike. Look alike. Age alike. Struggle alike. It is a unique dynamic which we share.
So he wanted to know what happened to me.
Doing Versus Retiring
I told him I’ve been wrestling with God. The tension is what I want to do versus what God wants me to do. I am a homebody, and he wants me out there.
I was reading a devotional one morning, and it all became clear. My tension is between doing a lot and retiring, which is doing nothing.
I’ve taught Bible studies for a long time, and I know there is no concept called “retirement” in the Bible. Heck, Moses died on a mountain at one hundred and twenty years old while overlooking the Promised Land. He almost made it. He never gave up. He simply followed God.
As a Christian, I am called to do the work of God. I am Jesus’ hands and feet here on earth. He told us that “we will do even greater works than He did on earth.” Tough to realize His promise if I am retired.
God Makes It Clear
Here is what became clear. Retirement will never be an option for me. The only time I should stop doing what God wants is when I am no longer able to do it.
This is a big change for me. The “aha moment.” Stop imposing limits, and stop hanging around with people who impose limits. Retirement is no longer a choice I can make.
Keep sharing the Gospel.
Keep meeting with entrepreneurs and investors.
Keep at it.
Paul the Apostle said it best when he wrote in Philippians 4:19, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”
New Life Outlook
When I can’t get out of bed, that’s when I’ll retire. And this conviction on this topic is a big change in my life.
I talked to a mentor who is nine years my senior. Illness has recently hit him hard. I asked him, “What are your thoughts on retirement?”
He said, “It is not a matter of setting a stop date. It is simply a slow wind down.”
I am reminded of another verse from Paul in Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”