I have referenced how I believe that we will need to work well into our 70’s because I simply don’t believe that most have saved enough to be independently wealthy and whatever safety nets that are provided by the Federal Government will have negligible effect in 15 or 20 years.
But I’ve not dealt with retirement, as a concept, directly until now. So let me be direct and blunt:
The Scriptures do not support the notion of retirement.
Retirement implies stagnation, non-productivity and ceasing of growth. It has been retired. It is no longer useful. No longer helpful. No longer “part of the game”.
Sorry, Christians don’t get to become useless, unhelpful, irrelevant and unproductive. It’s not part of God’s plan and it’s not part of His will.
Work is a gift from God. Work existed before the Fall, so work is not a result of the fall nor is work part of the curse that God placed on Adam. I can find no place in the Bible where there is even a hint of support for our American concept of retirement – sitting back, relaxing every day, being non-productive and living off the money we have saved or inherited.
What I do find are passages like this:
They are the shoot I have planted,
the work of my hands,
for the display of my splendor.
The least of you will become a thousand,
the smallest a mighty nation.
In Psalm 1.3, the Godly person is one who:
…is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers
In 1 Corinthians 3.6, Paul uses the imagery of growth when he talks about him planting a seed, Apollos water but giving glory to God because He is the one who causes a person to grow.
One can even point to Philippians 1.3-5, where Paul writes:
“I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
The idea is that God never stops working in us to grow the “good work” and that He does so until the “day of Christ Jesus”.
The passages I have cited at the tip of the iceberg. There are literally dozens of passages that indicate that God is creative and that He wants us to work and grow until we reach heaven.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t sell your business as you get older, but it does mean that as a Christian, you’re not allowed to sit back and do nothing. You must be growing – developing – learning – becoming – until the day you see Christ face to face.
Sorry, Christians don’t get to retire.