You never retire from being a Christian
By Andrew Schroer
Feb. 2, 2018 at 5:51 p.m.
Updated Feb. 3, 2018 at 1 a.m.
According to recent reports, baby boomers are retiring at a rate of about 10,000 per day. Social Security is being strained to its limits. The official retirement age to receive full benefits will soon be changed from 65 to 67 years old.
Many boomers now find themselves working well into their late 60s and 70s. They want to retire, but financially, they feel they cannot.
Many if not most working Americans dream of retirement. They can't wait to finally be able to rest - to do the things they always wanted to do.
Retirement, however, isn't always what it's cracked up to be. Many struggle in retirement because of financial constraints and failing health.
Some, however, live the dream. They travel when they want. They rest when they want. They do what they want because they are retired.
As a Christian enters his or her golden years, there is a temptation to see themselves as "retired." They've put in their time at church. They've worked hard. They've earned the right to rest.
Others feel like there is nothing more they can do. They can't serve in the ways they did when they were younger. They can't mow the church yard. They can't teach Sunday School. They can't sing in choir anymore. Therefore, they are done. They are retired.
What we often forget is that you never retire from being a Christian.
"As long as it is day," Jesus said, "we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work" (John 9:4). As long as we have breath in our lungs, God has work for us to do.
As the hymn writer once wrote, "Let none hear you idly saying, 'There is nothing I can do.'" Even if you are in a nursing home or bedridden, you can still serve. You can pray - for your family, for our country, for our world. If you have nobody else to pray for, please pray for me.
You can write letters and send care packages to missionaries. You can read Bible stories to your grandchildren. You can encourage younger generations in their faith. You can be an example of trust in God even as pain and time ravage your body.
We serve God until our dying breath to thank him for serving us until his dying breath.
The story is often told of a missionary who spent his entire ministry - more than 45 years - in the deep bush of Africa. He sacrificed most modern comforts and was separated from family and friends for years at a time.
When he finally retired, he boarded a plane with his wife to return to the United States. When the plane landed, he looked out the window. A large crowd had gathered with "Welcome Home" signs. A band was playing.
The missionary was touched and overwhelmed by the reception. But as he was about to leave the plane, a federal marshal asked him to step aside. A famous senator was returning on the same flight from a peace-keeping mission in Africa. The band and well-wishers were for him.
By the time the missionary deplaned, no one was left to greet him. He angrily whined to his wife, "I served and sacrificed for 45 years, and now, when I finally retire, there isn't even one person here to welcome me home."
That's when he heard a voice whisper in his ear: "My son, you aren't home yet."
My friend, you aren't home yet. Your work here isn't finished. Jesus has earned for you a pension beyond your wildest dreams. One day, you will celebrate your retirement party with the angels of heaven and with all the saints who labored before you.
One day, you will rest from all your labors, but for now, God still has work for you to do.
Pastor Andrew Schroer has been a pastor for nearly 20 years and is currently serving at Redeemer Lutheran Church with campuses in Edna and Victoria, Texas. Read more of his devotional writing and contact him at 364DaysofThanksgiving.com.