In about one month I will be retired as an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian church. I have been an ordained pastor for 39.5 years and was involved in a variety of ministries for eight years before that.
I personally have mixed emotions regarding my impending retirement. I LOVE being a pastor and the work God has called me to. I enjoy the creativity of ministry and being allowed to walk with people down the road of faith. I get energized by seeing people grow and experience transformation and being a part of that process. I will miss much of the day to day ministry that I enjoy.
Yet, I look forward to a slower pace, more time with my wife, living in the north woods of Michigan, and having the freedom to travel and go when we want to go!
Yet this whole “retirement thing” needs to be looked at more deeply. Can —and should — Christians retire?? While we certainly can … the question is: Should we? I view it this way. In retirement, I am just moving into something new. I still hope to do or be involved in ministry in some form. I still feel called to serve Jesus Christ in the church — but in a new way. While I don’t know yet what that looks like, I do hope and believe God has a spot for me! So retirement gives me new options in HOW to do ministry. I do NOT think we should ever stop serving God and building God’s Kingdom. This is a lifelong call for all of us and I intend to do this until I take my last breath. So based on this perspective — NO! — we cannot, nor should we, retire from God’s work. Still, we need to be open to the new thing God is doing. By retiring, I make myself available to do the new thing God has for me at this time and place in my life. Retirement allows me to explore and enter a new way to serve Jesus Christ. Retirement does NOT however, allow me to stop serving Jesus Christ.
I look forward to discovering how God wants to put me to work in the days ahead. I encourage each and every one of you: Keep serving Jesus Christ in ALL the seasons of your life. Keep engaging with God’s church! Be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit for the Holy Spirit will lead you into how God wants you to live for Him and how God wants us to serve Him! Until your last breath — keep being a vessel God can use!