A Biblical Worldview for the Second Half of Life

By Craig R. Smith, Author, Swiss America Chairman

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away such things." -I Cor. 13:11

Webster defines "retire" as: "1: to withdraw from action or danger, 2: to retreat for privacy, 3: to move backward, 4: to withdraw from occupation, conclude working or career."

All four of these "withdrawals" mark the end of a season of life. But where we should go from here is the question millions of boomers are now asking.

Christians need to be aware that the Bible does not endorse "retirement" from work, danger or action. Rather, this is a season of redeployment, discovery of our true career in God, our higher calling. It should be no surprise we are called to do just the opposite of "retire" - to "arise, to get up!" Sound familiar?

Our Creator seeks full employment of ALL his children - at ALL stages of adult life to the best of our ability empowered by the Holy Spirit.

As a businessman my goal has always been to promote a strong work ethic, because the Bible teaches that our work is both dignifying and fulfilling.

Jesus himself explains why in The Parable of the Landowner (Matt 20:1-16). No fewer than four times, Jesus tells us the landowner went searching for the unhired to provide them with work.

Jesus was demonstrating how vital our work is in order for us to reach maturity. We are each an important member of his family and He needs us to discover our unique calling - from the inside out.

Our prayer is that Primelifers will help you on your exciting new journey. Our goal is to provide new educational tools to assist in the emotional, mental, spiritual and financial planning for the second season of life.

Craig R. Smith

A Fresh Worldview:
From Retirement to Redeployment

By David Bradshaw, Idea Factory Press,

"It ain't so much of not knowing...
as it is knowing what ain't so!"

-Arkansas hillbilly

Here's a shocker: the word "retirement" cannot be found in the Bible.

Not even once! Why? because it's a foreign concept to the Kingdom of God as reflected both in the Old and New Testaments.

After researching the topic of "retirement" over the years, I have come to the conclusion that the hillbillyism quoted above is correct. Therefore Christians, above all, need to begin the process of unlearning - deprogramming the world's humanistic entitlement worldview on the subject of retirement.

When Jesus said, "seek first the kingdom of God," it is not just a statement, it is His heartbeat, it is a matter of great importance, it is a life choice, the core purpose of our existence.

E. Stanley Jones, the great 20th century Methodist minister and missionary writes, "If Jesus made the kingdom of God the center of his message and the center of his endeavor, the greatest need of man, as I see it, is to rediscover the kingdom of God."

"The Christian life from start to finish is based upon the principle of utter dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ," writes Watchman Nee. "We only advance when we first learn to sit down."

The world tells us "hurry up and do something", but our Lord says, "slow down and rest first. Draw near to Me, then GO." This pattern was first established in the Creation with man's first day on earth being the Lord's Sabbath.

Proverbs 20: 5 says, "Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out." It takes time, hard work and learning how to overcome failures to become a man of understanding.

As Dennis Peacocke founder of Strategic Christian Services has taught for decades, we are all called to serve the purposes of God for a lifetime - in our God-given sphere of influence - including family, neighbors, the marketplace and the greater community.

The first way we draw the hidden purposes out of people is by learning to be a good listener. Next by asking the Lord for a spirit of discernment - to help us understand the true issues at hand, and then by sharing godly counsel and advice which is drawn from a Biblical perspective on life.

The basic rule of Biblical interpretation is that if a word is not mentioned in any Bible translation, then it should be interpreted in light of all other teachings in the Bible, aka, context. Note that the word retirement was not a part of Jesus vocabulary, teachings or worldview.

"Retirement is a modern concept that at the end of one's primary means of producing income, a person is free to do whatever he wants, usually what he has always wanted to do, but never had the time. It is an unbiblical notion because one never 'retires' from God's Work or Good Works. 'Retirement' can be a great opportunity for one to be more fully engaged in 'good works' to advance the The Kingdom of God," writes Franklin E. Payne, M.D at BiblicalWorldview21.org

"Truth out of balance leads to heresy. For example, if we emphasize the 'rest' that a believer has and fail to give equal and primary emphasis to the 'labor' of a believer, we will view any emphasis on working for the Lord as legalism," writes the founder of the 1970s Institute on Basic Youth Conflicts Bill Gothard.

Paul put labor and rest together when he wrote, "There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" (Hebrews 4:9-11).

A Christian and Biblical worldview of life and living includes no promise of earthly "retirement," that is living an idle life, perpetually at rest. The word "retire" appears only once in Scripture, regarding Levite priests (Num. 8:23-26).

Priests were required to retire from regular service, after 25 years to take on a new role - assisting younger men perform their work by providing the wisdom and leadership born of their 25-years' experience serving the Lord.

In contrast, the Lord told Joshua at age 85 plus there were still large areas of land for him to inhabit. Jesus said "The harvest is great, but the workers are few." God has good works for all of His children to do, at all ages and stages of life. And, given today's U.S. economic mess, we Boomers can and must choose to become part of God's solution!

"Deploy" is defined as "1) to spread out strategically or in an extended front or line, 2) to come into a position ready for use." Far from being un-employed, every Christians is clearly deployed by Jesus in his final seven words on earth, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations..." Christians are called to be "go-go" people - ready to go to the front lines, prepared for His use.

"Re-de-ploy" is defined as; "1. to transfer (a person, supplies, etc.) from one theater of operations to another. 2. to move or allocate to a different position, use, function, or the like; reassign."

As Christians mature we should grow and become more strategic, more engaged, clearer thinking and living, walking circumspectly. For our entire Christian life we are to reckon ourselves as moist clay to be reshaped in the Potter's Hands. This means abandoning the idea of living an idle life of retirement.

Nearly 40 million Baby Boomers, unbelievers as well as Bible-believers, are likely ill-prepared and desperately need help transitioning.

As hard as it is to believe, after forty years of being a Christian and attending scores of churches, I can't remember a single sermon on the topic of retirement, until this Spring at Paradise Community Church in Phoenix, AZ. Sad, but true.

Redeeming the Time

"So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come."
-PSALMS 71:18

During this second half of life, graciously gifted to us by God, our Lord awaits our choice to redeem the time, talents and gifts He's given to us to use wisely for the sake of building the Kingdom of God.

Primelifers.net is designed to help the maturation process along with educational resource links and inspirational stories of those brave souls now discovering their real life mission and true calling.

Will we seize this second season to enjoy life's pleasures? Or will we become God's partner in healing others' pain? "God speaks in pleasure, but He shouts in pain," wrote C.S. Lewis.

"The word 'retirement' is not even in the Bible," says pastor and author of "A Purpose Driven Life" Rick Warren. "So it's not a biblical concept. What is taught in Scripture is a transition. You may change jobs, you may change vocations and you may volunteer for free, but there is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years," reports Forbes.

Providing a biblical perspective on what retirement should resemble, Warren adds, "The Bible says that as long as your heart is beating God has a plan and purpose for your life - to grow personally, to get to know God, to serve others, and make the world a better place."

"Finishing life to the glory of Christ means living and dying in a way that shows Christ to be the all-satisfying Treasure that he is... not living in ways that make this world look like your treasure. Which means that most of the suggestions this world offers us for our retirement years are bad ideas," writes John Piper in Rethinking Retirement.

Piper, author of over 80 inspirational books, asks of Baby Boomers, "How many Christians set their sights on a 'Sabbath evening' of life-resting, playing, traveling, etc. - the world's substitute for heaven since the world does not believe that there will be a heaven beyond the grave."

Perhaps the Bible purposely avoids using the word "retirement" because it is a diversion from discovering our higher calling. After being a Christian 40 years, is it possible I've allowed the world's thinking to limit God's call to build His Kingdom all the days of my life?

In Why Work (1942) the British poet, playwright and essayist Dorothy L. Sayers writes, "It is the business of the Church to recognize that the secular vocation, as such, is sacred. Work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or should be, the full expression of the worker's faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God."

Sayers adds, "In nothing has the Church so lost Her hold on reality as in Her failure to understand and respect the secular vocation. She has allowed work and religion to become separate departments, and is astonished to find that, as result, the secular work of the world is turned to purely selfish and destructive ends, and that the greater part of the world's intelligent workers have become irreligious, or at least, uninterested in religion."

Could ungodly economic, cultural and spiritual forces actually want to remove godly "elders" from active duty prematurely by pushing them off to the pasture to quietly entertain and amuse themselves during what could be the most productive years of their life?

Here is what R.C. Sproul Sr., a leading Christian scholar has to say on the subject of retirement from a Biblical worldview:

"There is built-in dignity of labor in the Scripture, and God calls me to labor in his vineyard until I die. It may not be at one particular job, but I have to be actively productive as long as I possibly can."

"Maybe this whole idea of retirement was conjured up by somebody who wanted to make room for other people to get a job... many of the greatest leaders and the greatest contributors to the world, were made after they would be at what, in our culture, is the mandatory retirement age."

According to Peter Scazzero, author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in Your Life In Christ, "It is impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature."

Pete's mission is to equip leaders in a new paradigm that integrates emotional health and contemplative spirituality. God designed and desires us to be healthy, whole people in all areas of life:

-Spiritually (a growing relationship with the Lord)
-Mentally (allowing the mind of Christ to rule our thoughts)
-Physically (being thankful for good health, living a balanced life, food, exercise, work, etc.)
-Emotionally (maturity and balance between child-like faith without childish behavior)
-Socially (allowing God's love to rule and guide our interaction with family, friends, workmates, neighbors)

Jesus said: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt. 22:37-40). The goal of a maturing spiritual life is learning how to love well.

A Maturing Life is in Every Christian's DNA

Communication is the BASIS to life,
Exchanges is the PROCESS of life,
Balance is the KEY to life,
Agreement is the POWER of life.

- Dr. Edwin Cole (1922-2002) Author, Founder Christian Men's Network

Edwin Cole was a man of love, vision and destiny, committed to building men and creating a legacy - which continues to impact our world today.

In searching nearly 1,000 Ed Colisms you will find wisdom on virtually every subject important for Christian men to grow up spiritually, BUT you will not find one word on the topic of retire or retirement.

In fact, back in the 1990s, Dr. Cole once told me in a live radio interview on the topics of economics that our debt-based money system would eventually destroy the culture, unless Christians could somehow reverse the culture of living beyond our means - both personally and as a nation. Two decades later, his words are even more true.

Scientists tell us that every cell in our body carries in it two DNA codes; one code to bring the cell to maturity and reproduction, and another code to bring the cell into harmony and integration with the entire organism. Both are part of God's natural design.

The process of coming to Christian maturity requires: 1) a period of deliverance from our sin and self, then 2) discipleship, mentoring and apprenticeship, then 3) commissioning and deployment, being sent back into the world.

Jesus outlines this process in John 17:14-18. (This type of "full" gospel will challenge even a Fortune 500 executive!)

God invites us to make a leap of faith, from the 'necessary childishness' of youth into the 'necessary suffering' of maturity, to discover our true calling and place of service.

"Call it a midlife epiphany. After decades of pursuing money, titles and ever more stuff, baby boomers are coming to a big realization: Success and security just aren't enough anymore. They want something more fulfilling out of life, something that feeds their spiritual side and connects them to a bigger purpose. For many, the answer is embracing faith - and devoting their lives to serving others," reports the Wall Street Journal, "Some Second Careers Are a Leap of Faith."

Like King David may it be said of each of us; "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and decayed." (Acts 13:36).

What's In Your House?
It's time for the faith community to lead the next Boomer charge

As we have explained in the Primelifers Introduction, the time has come for Baby Boomers to get in gear and take initiative to both understand and embrace their second half of life with a new sense of urgency. This process needs to begin from the top down and from the bottom up.

Twenty years ago Craig Smith and I did a radio show and seminars entitled, "Economic Solutions" throughout the U.S. encouraging local churches to become the fountainhead of provision in their local church and community. We offered a few simple ideas about understanding the Biblical foundation of real money and how to expand economic "body ministry" within the local church.

Many larger churches already have some sort of Samaritan's Closet going to share with those in need within the church and greater community. For those who have not, it could be an excellent way for Baby Boomers to begin serving the local church needs as well as reaching out to their neighborhood.

It could begin with something as simple as a dedicated bulletin board or chalkboard in the church lobby divided into three categories; 1) Things I Will Give, 2) Things I Will Trade, 3) Things I Need. Sort of a low-tech Craigslist.org for everyone to participate and share household items, special talents or skills, etc. with those in need.

Do you know any packrats? They live next door and just down the street. Packrats are people who have the art of clutterization down to a science. Their personal space has been taken over by a galaxy of untidiness.

There are boxes of items that haven't been touched for ages, shoes that will never be worn again, repetitions of unread books, and a host of other things that would never be missed if they were gone.

Why do people allow a disarray of debris to pervade their personal space? Perhaps it is a lack of time, discipline, desire, or a combination of the three- but the results are the same. Household clutter occupies space, saps energy, and creates frustration.

Why not let your junk become anothers' jewel, while supporting a brand new outreach from your local church or ministry. Primelifers from the congregation could offer to help friends and neighbors sort through, separate out, then haul away unwanted and unused items free of charge.

Donated items could be re-purposed or resold, either at the local church, at garage sales or perhaps even a retail thrift store to help support Primelifers ministry efforts. Volunteers will soon discover the joy of serving their church and greater community. New doors will open to God's love in the process.

We expect many more simple ideas like this will emerge as the Primelifers movement grows. We welcome all input and feedback on these ideas. Tell us what is working in your local church and we will spread the wisdom online.

Meanwhile, we invite you to begin discovering your unique gifts and calling during this 'second season of life' today. Here are some helpful resource links:

Introduction: Primelifers Big Picture Overview
PrimeLifer Book Reviews: The Big Shift & Falling Upward
PrimeLifers News Briefs: PrimeLifer News & Views
Educational Resource Tools: What Next?
Sign up: Weekly PrimeLifers Newsletter - Free "Don't Retire, Get Re-Inspired!" Handbook

Disclaimer: All of the information herein is believed to be true, however errors are possible. All investments have risk.