Wednesday, May 4, 2016
CONTENTMENT IN RETIREMENT
Several of my blogs have been written about contentment, but they have been of a general nature. Since Dr. Whitcomb and I are in the retirement stage of life, and have a passion to be useful channels for the Lord, we face many decisions just as you do. So, from my thick file entitled
“Seniors,” which doesn’t sound as threatening as “Elderly,” I write these thoughts.
“Don’t be afraid of growing old,” said a man to a group of over-sixties. “When you stop growing old, you’re dead.” That may sound either threatening or glorious, depending on your standing with the Lord. This will be discussed later.
To face a threatening situation as though it does not exist is neither logical nor healthy. Aging is a fact of life.
Cicero said four things about age: “It makes our bodies feeble; it takes us out of participation with life; it robs us of the pleasures of youth; and it reminds us that death is waiting.” But Job put a premium on age: “Wisdom is with aged men; with long life is understanding” (Job 12:12).
Older Christians are usually well adjusted. They have mellowed with maturity. They have something to live for and something to die for. But it is a shame that some senior citizens give up, let themselves go, look untidy, abandon exercise and diet, and sink into inactivity. A few are meddlesome, critical, and demanding. This is where we may come into their lives to give them purpose for Jesus’ sake.
Aging starts with conception, is most rapid with very young children, and continues as long as life lasts. Normal old age is healthy. We are advised that “when older people get sick it is not because they are old, but because they finally succumb to ailments that have been in their systems, undetected for years.” I did not know this, but thought it interesting enough to mention.
By no means are all older folk sick, lonely, pessimistic, or unproductive. Most are well able to take care of themselves. Yes, some have incurable ailments, but that does not make them invalids. With God’s blessing they can have many years of productivity. My husband, who will be 92 in June, and in his fifth year with Parkinson’s disease, is an example. Every other week he participates in an hour-long radio program (Worldview Weekend), speaks often in churches and schools, writes articles and books, and is active with Answers in Genesis, especially with the Ark Encounter project in Kentucky. There are thousands of others who have lived long and productive lives.
A seventy-year-old college professor writes, “I am realistic enough not to expect that I can maintain my present post-retirement level of participation in the work of the academic community in coming years. I see no sharp falling-off, but only the prospect that self-discipline (or the lack of it) will determine how high that level of participation will be.” Sadly, God is left out of his prospect, but I include it for the self-discipline aspect.
“Casting all your care upon HIM, for HE cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Life is a journey, and God has a plan for each of us.
(To be continued)