Retirees can finish life on spiritual ‘front lines,’ leave significant legacycomments (2)
August 29, 2013
By Carrie Brown McWhorter
Attitudes about retirement vary widely. Some dread retirement because they see it as an end of their productive years. Others look forward to having more control over their time and energy. Though each individual’s dream is different, the retirement years offer tremendous opportunities to honor Christ in the latter decades of life.
Pastor and educator John Piper suggests that in many ways, the American ideal of retirement contradicts biblical teaching, leading to decisions that do not honor Christ.
“Most of the suggestions that this world offers us for our retirement years are bad ideas,” Piper writes in “Rethinking Retirement: Finishing Life for the Glory of Christ” (Crossway, 2009). “They call us to live in a way that would make this world look like our treasure. And when that happens, Jesus is belittled.”
Instead retirement is an opportunity to spend more time loving others and sharing Christ with them, Piper writes.
“Finishing life to the glory of Christ means using whatever strength and eyesight and hearing and mobility and resources we have left to treasure Christ and in that joy to serve people — that is, to seek to bring them with us into the everlasting enjoyment of Christ,” he writes.
The “rocking chair” approach to retirement is not what most people desire, said Eileen Mitchell, who works with senior adult ministry as an associate in the office of Sunday School and discipleship for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. With opportunities in disaster relief, construction projects, missions trips, tutoring, mentoring and other activities, Christian retirees have the opportunity to find a fulfilling ministry that is the right “fit” for their lives, she said.
“These folks are not only on the front lines of ministry but are an example to younger generations in the church,” Mitchell said. “They are able to share about Christ and His love in this new area of ministry and provide an example that as a Christian, your life is to be a witness in each life stage.”
The retirement years are a good time for Christians to evaluate their spiritual legacy as well, said Rodney Bledsoe, legal and administrative officer for The Baptist Foundation of Alabama.
Many people go into retirement with the goal of spending their savings, Bledsoe said. However, an important part of a solid retirement plan includes planning for what might be left.
“You want to plan for what will happen if you don’t spend it all,” Bledsoe said. “What legacy do you want to leave to your children? Is it one that reflects your faith?”
A Christian estate plan that is retirement-age focused can generate income from non-income producing sources and reduce tax liability, Bledsoe said. Such a plan provides added security when an illness or disability arises and makes a way for one’s assets to be used for God’s glory.
Bledsoe has worked with individuals who have been led by the Lord to give their entire estate to a ministry. In doing so, they are saying that God owns all of this and because of that, they are going to give back to Him all that He has given to them.
“That’s a legacy that passes not only to the individual’s family but to people like me as well,” Bledsoe said.
For more information about planned giving and estate planning, contact The Baptist Foundation of Alabama at 334-394-2025 or visit their website at www.tbfa.org. To download a free PDF of Piper’s “Rethinking Retirement,” visit http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/books/rethinking-retirement.