Should a Christian Retire?

What the Bible Doesn’t Say

First, the Bible says nothing about retirement.

So where the Bible is silent, follow the Law of Silence which says, “If God is silent, don’t make rules.”

Therefore, since retirement is a cultural phenomenon, it is all right to retire, or to keep on working right up to your death.

The Bible teaches the dignity of work, and that a man’s personality and destiny in life is fulfilled in the craftsmanship in which he is called. Therefore, a person ought to work diligently, and what he does becomes an expression of who he is. Since that involves working right up until the time of your death, you ought to work as long as possible, to do as much as you can for the glory of God.

Money is Not Enough Reason

No one should just hang onto a job just for the sake of money. As you grow older, think of two terms, i.e., learning and re-treading. Don’t just hang onto a job, learn to do it better – everyday – right up until your last day. If you are a Christian, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23).

The second word is retreading which means as you get older, you do your work differently. Does not the Bible say that young men are known for their strength (John 2:14). Also, the older man is known “because you know Him who is from the beginning” (1 John 2:13). Since God recognizes the different contributions you make at different ages, so should you. When you are a young man, you do more physical work, and make contributions to your employer. As you grow older, you contribute wisdom and experience. Therefore, learn to retread into a better employee. Remember, it’s not hard work, it’s smart work.

Focus on the Will of God

The question is not retirement, the question is the will of God. What has God called you to do? Then do it as best you can to the glory of God.

A final word about some work that’s drudgery and monotonous. If you have a job that is repetitious and you can’t do it better, or you have a job that saps the “life out of you,” then by all means retire when you have the opportunity. Quit doing what you don’t like to do and go to what you want to do. There is nothing wrong with retiring and giving more time to your church, the Lord’s work, and doing what you want to do.

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Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

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