THE GOLDEN YEARS?
And Iíll say to myself, you have plenty good things laid up for many years.† Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry. Luke 12:19 (NIV)
††††††††† Numerous corporate mergers and downsizing have prompted many of those who are approaching the Golden Years to think seriously of retirement and escaping the rat race.† The usual pattern consists of starting to squirrel away money and looking forward to freedom day.† Like the Rich Fool in our reading, plans are made to enjoy the good life.†††† Unfortunately, numerous retirees discover that a steady diet of golf, tennis, or any of the previously coveted activities quite quickly lose their attractiveness and retirement often begins to become a grind.† Doing the same activities over and over becomes boring and the zest for life decreases--their lament is echoed in this poem:
††††††††† Since I have retired from lifes competition,
††††††††††††††††††† Each day is filled with constant repetition.
††††††††† I get up each morning and dust off my wits,
Go pick up the paper and read the obits.
††††††††† If my name isnt there, I know Im not dead,
††††††††††††††††††† I get a good breakfast and go back to bed.
††††††††† What is missing?† A sense of purpose and the lack of feeling useful. When I considered retirement, I envisioned each morning making a decision as to what I wanted to do that day.† Unfortunately or fortunately, I have not found that to be true.†† I do have blocks of time to utilize but most of my days consist of previously scheduled activities.†† I have my Monday routines, Tuesday routines, etc.† Although this may seem more like a job than retirement, I have found that unless I have some kind of schedule it becomes very easy to just fritter away the day and surely unlike the Rich Fool, this isnt what our good Lord intended for utilizing our time.
††††††††† If we accept the concept of tithing, what implication does this have for the utilization of our days?† Does retirement present the opportunity to get to know our Lord more intimately or to work full time to lower our handicap at the golf course?† Considering we now have free blocks of time,
how much of it should be dedicated to our Lord?† 10%?, 20%?, 50%?† What could be done with this time?† Utilization depends on individual interests and skills but surely there are many opportunities to serve in a variety of ways in our church and community.† Unlike the Rich Fool we need
to invest our time in serving others and not solely in pursuing self-gratification in order to someday hear the words, Well done good and faithful servant. †