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Lessons on work and retirement

Lessons on work and retirement

Click here to ask Chuck your money question

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Chuck Bentley

Dear Chuck,

My grandfather gets up and goes to work 5 days a week. He’s 80! He says he never wants to retire. I would love to have a job I love that much. What’s the secret?

Inspired

Dear Inspired,

I understand how you feel! My dad worked full time until he was 83. He enjoyed his work and taught each of his children to do the same. Even in his retirement, he worked full time as a caregiver to my mom. He set a wonderful example for us.

Benefits of Work

Besides the obvious benefit of having an income, work is a primary way to experience purpose, meaning, and joy. It allows for self-expression, and has the potential to be used in a great way to serve the needs of the world and to bring glory to God.

I recently read the inspiring story of a 99-year-old woman who has worked for the state of California for 76 years. May Lee drives herself to work at 6 a.m. and claims: If you keep busy, you enjoy life.

She started with the California Department of Finance in 1943, moved to the Department of General Services in 1963, and worked until she retired in 1990, upon which she worked four days a week as a retired annuitant. Now she works as an unpaid volunteer.

A voracious reader, she’s always learning, and respects everyone regardless of their title.

She attributes her health to eating right, exercising (she used to walk the stairs in the parking garage for an hour), and standing instead of sitting in her office.

May Lee is not alone. Many people are continuing to work into their retirement years. They enjoy the relationships they’ve built over the years and find their work fulfilling. Some have tried retirement but end up finding it boring so they change careers or find part-time positions. A growing segment of our population needs the income to support a longer life and higher medical costs.

Continue Working Instead of Retiring

Our God is a worker. Genesis records how He worked for six days and rested for one. We are operating as God designed us when we work. Americans tend to glamorize the modern idea of retirement, but it is time to rethink our perspective.

Work plays a significant role in our spiritual lives. Besides supplying our physical needs, it provides the opportunity to apply Biblical principles that would otherwise be mere academics.

In serving others, we yield “our rights” and bring glory to God. We learn to identify with Jesus who came not to be served, but to serve. So, work is not a “secular” activity. It can be our greatest area of Christian outreach and witness. The older worker, who acknowledges he/she is working for Christ, and who knows all motives and achievements regardless of earthly reward, can relax and enjoy the job.

Pros of Working

·      Daily routine provides structure and fulfillment

·      Provides physical activity and mental stimulation

·      Relationships and social interaction

·      Being productive and affirmed

·      Income and company benefits

Cons of Working

·      Too much stress or physical labor

·      Lack of freedom to travel or set own schedule

·      Lack of time to spend with family, church, community work

·      Spouse may be lonely or in poor health

Benefits of Work Regardless of Age

The joy of work is rooted in choosing the right vocation. God endows every Christian with unique abilities, desires, and gifts to accomplish His will through them. But there are reasons to enjoy your work even if you don’t have the perfect job fit.

One reason people find joy in their work is that they’ve learned to love others. They aren’t resentful when others get recognized or receive promotions. They rejoice with them and seek to improve what they can personally contribute to the company.

They respect fellow employees, refusing to see them as “competitors.” With an identity rooted in God, they can genuinely celebrate the success of others.

Working with a thankful heart and a good attitude benefits the worker, fellow employees, managers, and the company’s reputation. A job is a blessing from God - one we should learn to steward well!

There is dignity in hard work and that should motivate us to do our best knowing we represent our Lord in whatever role we serve.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24 ESV)

Excellent work gets noticed! Doing one’s best with joy is a blessing to employers and an example to others. Older workers have the opportunity to nurture and highly impact the lives of younger employees.

I commend your grandfather! It sounds like you are inspired to follow in his footsteps. Continue to work unto the Lord! 

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Money Problems, Marriage Solutions. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.

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