So, You’re Retired… Your Ministry Has Just Begun – Part 3

ISI 2019 LeadersFor the last couple of months, we have talked about working for many years to raise and take care of a family.  Now we are entering or preparing to enter our retirement years.  So, what do we do?

When I retired over 3 years ago, I knew I wanted to spend my time pouring my life into other men.  My desire for many years was to be involved in ministering to men.  Maybe you don’t feel that call on your life.  But rest assure that as a child of God, He is calling you to some form of ministry.  It may not be what we typically think of as ministry, but God has a plan for your life.

The first thing I would recommend for anyone retiring is to have a period of Sabbath in your life.  A time of rest.  A time to reflect and seek God on the direction He desires for you.  You could actually begin to seek that direction before you retire but you do need to take a period of time to just rest.  Do some things around the house you have been wanting to do or maybe take that extended trip you always wanted to take.  But use the first few months of your retirement to just rest.

As you approach your retirement and during your time of rest be seeking God asking Him an honest question; “God, what are You calling me to do in retirement?”  Maybe it is to volunteer at a local hospital, relief organization, or a particular ministry.  God may move you into a position you would have never thought of during your career.  Be open to hear from God.  Talk to your friends and family on what they see you possibly doing.  They may see skills and talents God has gifted you with that you have yet to recognize.

Remember the story of Moses when God told him to return to Egypt to be the leader of the Hebrews.  Moses at first did not think he could do this for a number of reasons (Exodus. 3-4).  But God gave him a helper in his brother Aaron and God went with him guiding him for the next 40 plus years in leading Israel.

Maybe God wants to use you in developing a ministry.  I know of an individual because of their connection with the military began a ministry to encourage the men and women being deployed.  Another who started a ministry to help military wives who are left behind with housing maintenance.  Another who has a significant impact in prisons, reaching men and preparing them for when they are released.

Discipleship GroupMen who are pouring their lives into the next generation.  Being a living example to the younger generation.

Even while I am old and gray, God, do not abandon me, while I proclaim your power to another generation, your strength to all who are to come.  (Psalms 71:18)

Tell a future generation the praiseworthy acts of the LORD, his might, and the wondrous works he has performed.  (Psalm 78:4)

These are just a couple of scriptures that instructs us to pour our lives into the next generation.  Either through our children and grandchildren or into others.  Paul even told the Thessalonians in his first letter to them that,

We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.  (1 Thess. 2:8)

So, as you approach retirement or enter retirement, pray that God would teach you to number your days carefully so that you may develop wisdom in your heart to minister to the next generation (Ps. 90:12).

For more information I recommended Jeff Haanen’s book An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

So, You’re Retired… Your Ministry Has Just Begun – Part 2

Men working 2Last month we talked about working for many years to raise and take care of a family.  Now we are ready to relax and maybe travel some in our retirement years.  In addition, we rationalized it was time for the younger generation to take over the leadership of the church.  We do need to hand the mantel of leadership over to future generations; however, we do not need to think our ministry is over.

Those of us in the retiring generation has so much knowledge and experience locked up in our heads the Lord has blessed us with, we need to share this with those who will and are our future church leaders.

I shared with you last month that Moses was 80 years old (Ex. 7:7) when he and his brother first appeared before Pharaoh to state, “Let my people go.”  Joshua was 85 (Joshua 14:10) when he finished marching into the promise land and begin to divide the land between the tribes.  So, what makes men think when we retire from our careers, we can retire from training future generations to lead in a manner God desires from leaders.  If you know me, you know I have a phrase I often say, “Often told – rarely trained.”

Let me share a few scriptures with you.

Even while I am old and gray, God, do not abandon me, while I proclaim your power to another generation, your strength to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:18)

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. (Psalm 90:12)

The righteous thrive like a palm tree and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon.  Planted in the house of the LORD, they thrive in the courts of our God.  They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green,  to declare: “The LORD is just; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” (Psalm 92:12-15)

Seems to me the Lord expects us to continue to proclaim and bear fruit in the years of our retirement.

Old Men MentoringIn Psalm 71:18 the Psalmist is asking the Lord not to abandon him while he proclaims God’s power in his old age.  The Psalmist in Psalm 90:12 asks for God to teach us to use our days wisely for we do not know when the Lord will call us home to be with him in heavenly places.  Then in Psalm 92:12-15 the Psalmist writes in our old age we will continue to bear fruit.  This don’t sound like men who are spending their senior years relaxing.  These are men who are pouring their lives into the future generations to insure the next generation leads the church as God has instructed.

Paul told the Thessalonians, We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us” (1 Thess. 2:8).  Paul was ready to share his own life with those in Thessalonica.  As we approach retirement or as we are in retirement, are we pleased to share our own lives with the future leaders of the church.

Us ‘gray hair’ men have so much knowledge stored away in our brains and have learned so much in life as we have grown in the Lord, why would we not let younger men know we are available to share that knowledge through discipling and mentoring.

I encourage you to approach your pastor about starting a ministry in your church for retired men to sign up as a discipler and mentor.  Watch how God will use you in the years of ‘retirement.’  You will be amazed.

You may be retired from a career or maybe thinking about it.  But remember God is NOT through with you yet.  As long as He allows you to walk on this planet, He still has a mission for you.  Give strong consideration to disciple and mentor the younger generation.  Next month we will discuss some things you can do as you start.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike