“When are you going to retire?” Having turned 61 years of age two weeks ago, I’m starting to hear that question more often. To be honest, I have no plans to retire. I want to continue serving, preaching, and pastoring as long as I am healthy.
With that in mind, I read with great interest an article by John Piper entitled, “Hillary, Bernie, Donald, and Me” in which he challenges baby boomers not to waste their retirement years. He opens the article with these thoughts.
At 70, I am energized to dream great things, because this year Hillary turns 69, Bernie turns 75, and Donald turns 70. My rising energy has nothing to do with their policies or character. It has to do with the incredible fact that all of them want to spend their seventies doing the hardest job in the world.
This is wonderfully counter-cultural. I doubt that it’s motivated by a passion to magnify the greatness of Jesus. But that makes it all the more inspiring for me, because nothing gets me more excited than spending my seventies spreading a passion for the glory of Christ and his word. Paul is still my hero when he says, “My eager expectation and hope is that Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20).
So if Hillary and Bernie and Donald want to bear the weight of the world for the next four to eight years out of man-centered, philanthropic motives, I find my seventy-something zeal for Jesus heating up. They only get to be president of a tiny territory called the U.S.A. I get to be an ambassador of the Sovereign of the universe. They only get to change the way some people live for a few decades. I get to change the way some people live forever — with a lot of good spill-over for this world in the process.
But this is not an article mainly about me. It’s about the 70 million Baby Boomers coming behind me. I’m the oldest (born in 1946; the youngest born in 1964). Ten thousand Americans turn 70 every day. And they will continue to do so for about nineteen years. Billions of dollars are spent every year trying to get us to waste the last chapter of our lives on leisure. I’m spending one afternoon to plead with the rising seventy-somethings: Don’t waste it.
Being in the center of the baby boomer generation, I’m one of the people Piper is addressing. I appreciate his perspective and agree that we need to redefine retirement.
Piper concludes with these words.
Make no mistake. The Bible believes in retirement. It’s called heaven.
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