Tag Archives: Purpose

Sorry, Christians Don’t Get to Retire

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:

Isaiah 60.21-22:

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. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 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.

Five Things Adult Children should do after Mom and Dad Sell the Family Business

Over the next 10-30 years, we’ll see the largest transfer of wealth (here too) ever in the history of the world as the Boomers sell their businesses, then die and pass on their wealth to their heirs.

In a number of these situations, their wealth has been created by the founding and growing a profitable, family business. In many instances, one or more children in the family have grown up working in the business and even after starting their own families and other career opportunities have come and gone, they continue to work in the family business.

When the parents are ready to sell their ownership in the business and realize the reward for having worked hard their entire life, their children may well be into their thirties or even early forties. If the business is sold to an outside, third party, what should the adult children do to move on after the sale of the family business?

Well, here are five things they can do to move on and create a second career for themselves.

First, get some career counseling and professional coaching. Find out what you’re good at and what you really love to do. If you’ve worked in the family business your entire life, you’ve likely not worked a series of other jobs, gaining valuable experience as to what you do and do not like to do. Often, adult children in family businesses haven’t explored what they really like to do, so this is your opportunity to go through that process that many of your peers went through earlier in life. Getting some career counseling and finding a personal coach can help you process what your true passions and talents really are and then help you devise a plan to build a second career around what you really want to do.

Secondly, define your personhood apart from what you do in your job. This is essential to being successful in any career, but it is especially important during a career transition. Don’t define your inherent value and work by what you do. Let your work be your work, but let it be a reflection of who God has created you to be and not the end-point of your personhood.

Thirdly, you may need to downsize your standard of living. If you were overly compensated in your family business because mom and dad were generous, it is likely that other employers will not be so generous, so be prepared to lower your standard of living. You might find you like not having all the perks that a high salary brings. I’ve heard people say to me more than once that when they lowered their standard of living, their life became less hectic. They enjoyed a new found simplicity in life that money could never buy them.

Fourthly, think about going back to school to get an advanced degree that will help you move forward in your new career. Adults going back to school is such a common experience these days that schools are bending over backwards to appeal to the adult learner. If you’re in your early forties, think about the fact that your education might be twenty years old and you have another thirty years of work ahead of you, so getting another degree might be a good way to position your new career for the next thirty years while brushing up on the information updates that have occurred over the last 20 years.

Lastly, don’t make any life-changing decisions for at least one year if you get a lump sum from the sale of the business. In many family owned businesses, adult children own stock in the company. If the sale has brought to you a bucket of money, don’t go out and immediately start your own business or build a new west wing onto your house. Take some time to decompress, perhaps grieve the loss of your family business and work with your trusted advisors to move into a new phase of your life.

But whether or not you’ve run into a sum of money, look back over the last 15 years and evaluate what you’ve liked and not liked about your life. Retain the basic structures that you want to retain. Jettison those things that haven’t worked, but don’t get rid of them impulsively. Do it after thoughtful consideration.

When mom and dad sell their business, it’s a huge change for the adult children who now need to move on. Through thoughtful planning and foresight, the sale can be one of the best things to ever happen in the lives of the adult children.

Bill English
The Platinum Group

The Vanishing Male: a Christian Viewpoint

Two recent articles from the New York Times discuss the role of unemployment in the lives of men. The articles (here and here). In summary, the articles point out that men between the ages of 25 and 54 (termed prime-aged men) are vanishing from the workforce. In the late 1960’s, the percent unemployed was 5%. Today, that has tripled to 16%. A subset of these men are eager to find work. Some are using the time to go to school. Some apply for permanent disability and once approved, live off the insurance proceeds as well as their savings and the generosity of our government. Still others choose to retire early, which means they permanently leave the workforce. But as many as 44% are choosing not to work instead of taking low-paying jobs. They choose to remain on welfare when they could work a lower paying job.

Some find it hard to “shrink” into a job that is beneath their station in life. And with our current welfare benefit structures, they are able to make a real decision between working and not working. If the job pays similar to what their benefits pay, one does lack incentive to take the lower paying job.

Having been unemployed myself, I’m highly sympathetic to a man’s plight who isn’t working. Lack of employment saps a man’s dignity and purpose. Our sense of manhood is often damaged through extended unemployment. But staying on unemployment benefits when one could work seems to us to be sin.

Work is a gift from God. Work gives us purpose, dignity and a means of providing for ourselves and those around us. Work enables us to express our God-given creativities and talents. To turn down work when it is available has several deleterious effects:

  • Studies show that the longer one goes without work, the harder it is to find employment
  • The longer one does not work, the more public assistance and services are required to support that individual
  • The idea of fairness – helping a guy when he’s down – is assaulted when the guy could take work but chooses not to
  • God’s provision through work is traded for provision through the government
  • The loss of dignity and purpose is compounded by the turning down of work

We understand the emotional drain and associated problems with taking a low-paying job. But as Christians, we should never be below taking honest work for honest pay when it is the only option that will take us off government dependence.

This is where Christian business owners can fulfill their call to philanthropy. Perhaps there are some who could hire men (or women) who are only qualified for low-paying jobs and give them such jobs, but pay a rate a notch above market. Offer to train this person for future work that would require a higher salary. And help give the individual the opportunity to come back to the work force, be productive, find dignity and worth again through their own labor and help relieve society of this person’s support.

While most MBA programs would tell you to not do this – don’t pay more than what you must to retain the talent you need in your business – I think God calls us to look beyond the American ways of running a business sometimes. Surely, can we not support our brother and invest in him for the future? In the end, is not God’s pleasure with us for more valuable than any amount of money we would ever earn or have?

We think so. We hope you do too.

Bill English
CEO and Founder, Bible and Business.

Purpose in Life: Philippians 1.12-26

My outline for this section of Scripture is found in these slides. I’ve taught Philippians several times, but have never seen the concept of purpose as strongly as I did this week while preparing. They say that those who teach and preach often learn the most important truths based on what God is taking them through in their own life. I can’t deny this is true of me. I hope you find this helpful.

Bill English, CEO

Working Past 70

It is articles like this that confirm to me that those of us under 55 should consider ourselves to be working through at least age 70, if not 75 or later. I just don’t see how the policy makers in the industrialized countries will have the fortitude to make the changes to our public pension systems that need to be made. Forget about retiring at age 65. If you have money, they will take it in taxes to pay for these programs. If you don’t have money, you will need to work. Either way, plan on a longer work segement to your life and a much shorter retirement.

Personally, I like work. It provides purpose, dignity and income – all three of which I need. Work is a gift from God. There was work in the Garden before sin entered the world. So, I’m looking forward to working for the next 20-30 years. I think it will be the most productive time of my life.


Bill English

Driven or Led?

Every business that I know of, at times, has to go through the process of deciding what they do. In my business, we provide thought leadership in our vertical, we write core content for our industry and we provide great customer service. But one of the processes that we’re doing right now is explicitly defining what we do not do. Because there are several tangental or adjacent products and services that we could provide doesn’t mean that we should provide them.

Internally, business owners are often driven, type-A people. And if you’re anything like me, you hate to lose an opportunity to turn a profit. It just naws at you and sits there until you act on it. Not being able to move on new opportunities due to lack of funds or human bandwidth can be frustrating.

When a Christian business owner walks with God closely, this drive to succeed can be submitted to the authority and will of God. When that happens, we are Christian business owners who are led by the Spirit. Beyond the obvious positives of being led by the Spirit, one of the things that will go away is the drive to go after every last dollar because we can be at rest when the Spirit doesn’t lead us into a new product or venture.  We learn to fully trust God that this is best for us personally and our business.

One of the ways that Satan will attack us and make us ineffective is by randomizing our focus so that we perform at moderate levels across a number of efforts instead of at excellent levels across a few efforts. Better to be focused and excellent than to be randomized and average, in my opinion.

If you’re a Christian business owner, I encourage you to check yourself: are you trying to do too much? Do you need to make cuts in your business so that you can be better focused?  Do you spend enough time in prayer so that you can hear the voice of God and know what you need to do and what not to do?  Focusing on your highest value activities is the best way to ensure success for your company, especially when the Spirit is leading you to focus more closely on that which is in his calling for your life.

Bill English