Christians are working hard both in the ministry and in their respective professions. They need a successful future for fun and relaxation in their old age, but is retirement Biblically acceptable?
In our 21st century, millennials in particular are much concerned about how to build a successful future without breaking God’s Word. Interestingly, Christians have no valid excuse not to work with their hands before they eat. As the issue about safeguarding the future boils down —many are asking “is retirement biblically acceptable?”
Here, I will take you through Biblical principles and explain to you how a Christian can wisely prepare for the future without being caught in the world’s view of piling up wealth for yourself.
Let me first remind you that, a Christian’s journey here on earth is to please God in everything he does.
Did The Bible Talk About Retirement?
A hard-working Christian may ask his church leaders; “is retirement Biblically acceptable?” Right there you could understand his thoughts of enjoying life even in old age. Oh, come on… Go ahead, why not plan for the future? No one is trying to stop you!
You want to see yourself as that granny in his rocking chair reading his Bible, enjoying some coffee, and being financed by his long-term pension contribution or investment. That’s a praiseworthy idea.
When we are confronted with financial issues like savings and retirement, we must be very cautious not to be swayed by the world’s definition of ‘rich‘, ‘success,’ ‘safety‘, ‘happiness‘, etc.
Let us be reminded that your service to God as a believer is different from your job, career, business, or anything that keeps you going financially.
God gives spiritual gifts to be used in growing the church together. He also gives talents to be used as means of earning a living. I believe you get the point here. Paul used his call into the ministry to help spread the gospel and save lives. Besides, he ventured into tent-making in order not to be a financial burden to anyone.
The Bible did not specifically talk about retiring from work as a general rule of every Child of God. Looking through the scriptures, you could see the only related verse to our modern-day retirement says:
“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘This applies to the Levites: from 25 years old and upward they shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. And from the age of 50, they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more. They minister to their brothers in the tent of meeting by keeping guard, but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.” (Numbers 8:23-26).
In short, that was purposefully for the priests being Levites. These men dedicated their whole lives to serving the Lord. Even after they stay off their normal duties, they kept on ministering to their brothers. This highlights the fact that children of God can not completely stay away from serving God. Take Simeon and Anna(Luke 2:36 – 37), for instance, they served the Lord even in old age.
A Church Leader’s Plight On Retirement
Today, there are many Church leaders and other church workers who are worried about their retirement. It’s not a bad thing to think about the future while working as a Pastor, Prophet, Deacon, Evangelist, etc, and getting your monthly salary from the Church’s coffers.
They don’t just need a simple answer that will place them in a position that would make them hopeful about the future.
Many expect a proper financial plan like payment of their SSNIT and other insurances. It’s not a new thing in our Christiandom to hear some ministers of certain churches raise the alarm of being cheated on of their SSNIT contributions.
Why? They are concerned about their daily bread in the future when their knees start jerking and unable to perform their normal duties. Would that not be necessary to figure out if retirement is Biblically acceptable?
When old age sets in, you would still be useful in the ministry but probably not your job. But you would still spend money on bills, fees, food, etc.
The Bible’s Message About The Future
We must worship God as long as we have breath in us. It is very possible. But we can’t keep on working for money. Old age is the culprit here.
The Bible gave us a powerful lesson about the ant’s wisdom by saying such tiny creatures are wise enough to save enough food for the future. Therefore, the lazy one should go to the ants and learn some lessons(Proverbs 6:6-9).
The Bible encourages hard work. Working brings us the wages we need to pay rents, bills, cater for the family. However, there must be a proper future plan for survival when the winter or the rainy season catches you like in the situation of the ants. Were you wise enough to prepare for retirement? You would be serving through a long drought without your regular monthly salary from your Boss.
Don’t Store Up Treasures On Earth
Here is one of the cautions I talked about. As Christians, we ought to store up treasures in heaven but not on earth. Don’t be like the carnal-minded, live life like what is in the parable of the rich fool(Luke 12). Your heart should be close to the treasures you have stored in heaven. And Jesus Christ is our greatest treasure. In him, we can find all our needs.
Hezekiah’s treasure in display(Worldly Treasure):
“Hezekiah welcomed them and showed them his whole storehouse, with its silver, gold, spices, and high-quality olive oil, as well as his armory and everything in his treasuries. Hezekiah showed them everything in his palace and in his whole kingdom.” (2 Kings 20:13).
Lasting Treasure (Spiritual Treasure):
“Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Now here is what draws the curtain between treasures on earth and treasures in heaven down —”the heart.” Don’t put your heart in your earthly fortunes.
Why would you hold high esteem your earthly fortune? This is the mistake every Christian must avoid. You are however not prevented from preparing for the future with a proper financial plan.
It doesn’t mean saving money for future success is unscriptural. There are many Biblical lessons to learn from. Never allow money to be your god. God and his righteousness first and all other things shall be added unto you —as the scriptures say. Because God Himself has said, “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine.” (Haggai 6:8).
Is Retirement Biblically acceptable?
The Bible has no pension plans for you. There are many companies, institutions, businesses, etc, that have pension schemes for their employees.
You are to decide how to spend your time doing a job— this will reflect how much benefit you would accrue. The wise would try to be productive at all times.
There is no definite age of retirement for anyone running his own business. Chris Reining from corporate America retired at the age of 37. He was already a millionaire giving a piece of advice that you should quit saving your money. He argues that investing your money in your business would accrue more profits in years than the Bank.
Now, take a critical look at the scriptures, is retirement Biblically acceptable? I find something interesting about what makes retirement Biblically acceptable.
What is it then? It’s about how a Christian would be wise enough like the ant that saves crumbs of bread and other pieces of food for future use. God has given you that simple but powerful lever called “brain.” God cherishes:
- Hard working people
- The use of wisdom for making wise decisions
There is something every Christian must bear in mind. And it is about not trusting or relying on human strengths, plans, and promises.
You could be disappointed with the expectation of your future plans. There is no assurance for that. That is why the Bible says, tomorrow is not promised. But with God on your side, everything is possible.