Maximizing Your Retirement Years
August 10 2009 by D.E. Parkerson

“I know what I’m going to do when I retire — absolutely nothing!”

So spoke a man in a television ad some years ago that was promoting the value of setting aside funds for retirement years. Like many others in our world, he obviously regarded work as inescapable drudgery, and the years beyond 65 as the opportunity to do nothing more than sit in a recliner and vegetate.

I could not think of a worse way to spend retirement years. A greater boredom could not exist than doing “absolutely nothing” for the rest of your life. God intends the years beyond 65 to be a person’s finest and most enjoyable years.

The Bible tells us of a time when Abraham was depressed. He was above 90 years of age, and he and his wife Sarah did not have a son as God had promised. The Bible describes him as “sitting in his tent with the flap rolled down.” It is the kind of thing that happens to persons who believe their dreams will never come true.

It was at this point that God took him outside his tent and said, “Look toward the heavens, and count the stars, and see if you are able to count them. So shall your descendents be” (Gen. 15:5).

Abraham was focusing on his problems, not on the One who is the problem solver.

Abraham did as he was told, for he rolled back the flap on his tent, walked outside, and looked up at the stars. He saw that the earth was much bigger than plot of ground on which he had pitched his tent. He went forward to found a nation.

He realized, as Robert Browning said, it is “the last of life for which the first was made.” It dawned on him that old age is not determined by the number of years you have lived, but by ceasing to look forward with anticipation to further accomplishments.

A noted psychologist, after an extensive survey, said, “If a person’s curve of efficiency is still upward at 50 to 55, then it may be expected to continue upward far along into old age. But if it is on a decline at this time, then it will continue downward from that time on.”

Bud Wilkinson, former football coach at the University of Oklahoma, once said, “I’m going to put off dying till it’s the last thing I’ll do. If I knew where I was going to die, I would stay away from that place.” He knew that having a sense of humor is vital to growing old gracefully and joyfully. In fact, it is not a bad thing to have at any age.

Some people grow old and grouchy. Others just grow old. Regardless of how old you are, it is my prayer that you will look upon your senior years as a wonderful time to serve both God and others. It is way out in front of “doing nothing.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Parkerson is a native of Georgia, a graduate of Mercer University (B.A.), Southeastern Seminary (M. Div. and Th.M.), and Campbell University  (D.D.).  He has served as pastor of one church in Georgia and five churches in North Carolina. Following retirement as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sanford on September 30, 1996, he has served nine North Carolina churches as interim pastor. His column, The Paper Pulpit, has appeared weekly in a few newspapers and other publications since 1958.  He and his wife, Jessie, live in Wilmington near their daughter and family.)

8/10/2009 10:23:00 AM by D.E. Parkerson | with 0 comments




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