By Larry Coppock
“Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters,since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ.”
Last year I attained the magic 78 points which represents a formula developed by my employer: the combination of age and years worked which qualifies an employee for retirement. No one rang bells and no parties were held in my honor. Seriously, I had been wondering for years that if and when I achieved such a plateau, would I give up the ministry I feel I have been called to do. Such important decisions obviously affect many people: my family, people involved in my ministry, co-workers and, myself.
Societal norms seem to dictate retirement be considered through ages 62 to 70.
In the U.S., these numbers commonly represent some type of “reward” you receive like Social Security, Medicare, or status like “full-retirement age.”
These figures also exist in laws in other countries around the world. In Australia they call it a “preservation age.” It begins at age 55. The legal retirement age in Russia is 60 for men and 55 for women.
Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” It is obvious that from the beginning of time God wanted us to work. He did not set time parameters.
The Bible is full of stories of men of a ripe old age being called by God to do ministry and be servant leaders. Moses was 80 years old when God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land. Paul was more than 60 years old when he was still organizing churches and writing letters.
The point of this message is to encourage you to do the necessary research about retirement; however, don’t confuse retirement from employment with retirement from His kingdom.
God communicates a clear message for us to labor in His fields.
Paul wrote to the Philippians (verse 22): “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.”
Let our passion for good works and ministry not be driven by 78 points or some other societal directive. Let us be guided by the examples of servant leaders powerfully described to us in the Holy Bible. Let them help us discover our “second wind.”
If you are planning to retire, consider taking this test.
Larry W. Coppock
National director of scouting ministries
General Commission on United Methodist Men
Executive director of Strength for Service, Inc.
This article is part of the April UMM e-letter. Other authors of that e-letter include: