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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 31 : Beware of Covetousness | Day 215

Reject Retirement Myths!

Many people can't wait to retire. With excitement they plan, save, and look forward to the day when they no longer have to work and can just "take it easy." They view retirement as a time for personal enjoyment and relaxation, and a time to do all of the things they always wanted to do. People with these goals most likely have believed some common myths regarding retirement.

Making accommodations for physical limitations or changing occupations may be necessary as we advance in years, but we should never cease our labors for the Lord and His kingdom.

Myth 1: A Normal Life Span is 70-80 Years

Some people "rush" into retirement to make sure that they can enjoy many years of pleasure before they die. They quote Psalm 90:10 as if it were the norm: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten [70]; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years [80], yet is their strength labour and sorrow ... ." However, God determines the length of our lives, and we certainly can live more than 80 years, especially if we fear the Lord (see Proverbs 10:27).

Myth 2: We Owe Ourselves Some Years of Leisure

This is the very myth that Jesus condemned when He said, "Beware of covetousness." He told of a "certain rich man" who said, “I will pull down my barns, and build greater ... . And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease [leisure], eat, drink, and be merry” (see Luke 12:16-20). Instead, we are to be active for God "in season and out of season” (see II Timothy 4:2).

Myth 3: We Must Store Up Massive Funds for Retirement

Just as the ant plans ahead and stores food for the winter, it is appropriate to save money for future seasons of life (see Proverbs 6:6-8). However, our trust should never rest in our savings, but always in the Lord. Additionally, the goal of saving for the future should not be to hoard money so that we can retire from laboring and pursue pleasure. Jesus said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work" (John 9:4). A runner does not quit before the race is over; he finishes the course. When we finish the course on earth, we will go directly to be with the Lord and receive a crown of righteousness (see II Timothy 4:7-8).

Myth 4: We Will Have Time to Serve God When We Retire

We should not delay our service to God for a "more convenient" time. The same "cares of this world" that choked out service to God before retirement will continue afterward. All of life should be lived for God, and even our jobs should be viewed as ministries and as means of supporting the advancement of God's kingdom. Waiting until retirement to serve God is like handing Him a bouquet of wilted flowers—our "best years" have already been spent.

Let's reject all of these myths and follow Paul's exhortation, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58).

“… Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard