Do You Want To Retire Early?
The North American Life Trajectory: School. Work. Play.
A friend was recently sharing some of his impressions after reading a book, but I forget the title. The book introduced the three linear main stages of the Western life – school (learn), work, and play. Typically children go to school from ages 5 – 21. From there, they join the work force for a period of approximately forty years. Then remaining years of life are the years where we peacefully reap the rewards by kicking back and relaxing. School. Work. Play.
The book challenges this assumption saying we should do all of these things simultaneously, not separately. I absolutely love that idea. My personal philosophy is to work hard and play hard. I believe God gave life as an event to be experienced, not a task to be endured.
In a culture where time moves faster than a speeding bullet, if you blink your eyes your life will pass you by. I refuse to be part of a culture where I am completely defined by what I accomplish, attain, and build. I believe the Sabbath principle is valid today. The Sabbath principle is that God is powerful enough that he can take care of the events of the world for a day without my help (thank you very much).
Are you saving up all your fun for retirement? Have you done all your learning? Is your life shaping up to be three completely separate compartments on a linear line – learn, work, play?
Enjoy Retirement Living Today
All life, including retirement years, should include aspects of learning, working, and playing.
The question of whether a Christian should retire depends almost exclusively on how one defines ‘retire’. To retire could mean to formally end all ties with a company to allow an optimal amount of time for ministry and assistance – all with your own financing to cover expenses. You are now a freelance worker for God and all your expenses are not passed on to the recipient. If this is how you define retirement, I would say go for it.
- I was visiting with a man in his late seventies. He credits his good health and energy to reading. He says it keeps him sharp and invigorates him. By the way, he still works part time.
- I know another man in his late 70s who spends the majority of his time taking meals to shut ins, doing church visitation, and offering a hand whenever there is a need.
- I met a husband and wife who spend six months a year traveling overseas to visit with missionaries, encourage local missionary works, and to offer helpful seminars.
All of these men are working, learning, and playing.
To retire could mean to formally end all ties with a company to allow an optimal amount of rest and time period of unproductive living. You have given your time to God and others and now this is your time for yourself. I think this view of retirement robs God of a wonderful resource that he could be using for his kingdom work.
Instead, I suggest you live every day for the glory of God. Mix elements of learning, working, and playing into each day. While you might find that work wears you out today, you might find that tomorrow work reenergizes you.
Retirement Planning: More Than Money and IRA’s
When you plan for retirement begin to think about what you would like to do. How can God use your time for his Kingdom? Even though I am not completely sure what retirement will look like down the road, I am convinced that I want to be fully flexible to be used by God. In order to help accomplish that goal I take a portion of my income today and save it for retirement needs in the future.
When it comes to retirement do not sacrifice everything today for the sake of tomorrow. Instead, live in the glory of God each day by learning, working, and playing. When the years of retirement present themselves embrace them as an opportunity to seek a new role in God’s kingdom. Perhaps, though, if you embrace the learn-play-work cycle, retirement might not be any different than the other stages of life.
Do you think it is possible to live a cyclical learn, work, play pattern, or are we confined to the linear school, work, play pattern? What are you doing to keep a healthy balance of all three?