October 9

Don’t Rob Your Future, Part 3

John 9:4-5 “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Matthew 5:14-15 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

I Peter 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Sexual sin and greed are more dramatic offenses when we rob our futures (see devotionals from the last two days). More subtle is the attempt to wrest our heavenly rest and even our eternal rewards from God’s hand ahead of His timing. How could we possibly do that, you ask? By structuring and then living our lives so that the retirement years are spent pursuing pleasure and rest above all else.

There is nothing wrong with retiring from a particular employment. Many job arrangements include a retirement package that involves leaving our employment at a certain time, with what we hope is enough put aside to draw from and live a comfortable life here until we pass into the next life. Yet there is a spiritual danger here—we can swallow the lie that this is the season where we are to inherit our rest and rewards, and where we are supposed to take what we’ve earned and “spend it on [our] pleasures” (James 4:3b).

God has indeed promised us rest, both in this life and the next. Yet, this is the season where as the light of the world, we are to let our lights shine, continue our good works, and keep on glorifying God. Many people carry this godly vision into their retirement years, and find new and vibrant places to serve in the Kingdom. Young women need older mentors, church nurseries love grandmothers, and all that wisdom and experience needs to be passed on to the next generation.

But some seem to categorize serving God as part of their employment history, and make a deadly switch once they hit those later years. Yes, there is an adjustment to make and a God to seek for direction. Yes, we are more tired and perhaps more limited physically than we were before. But those hitting retirement age have gifts and callings crucial to the “building up of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12b-13).

How we serve Him is going to change over the years, and God knows that when we hit retirement, it’s a major time of transition. But He never stops having plans for us, and these are years when He desires to make good on all the investments He’s made in us over the years.

Prayer: Father, I pray for those I know that are retiring soon who know You. May they seek You until they find You, and move into the plan You have for them at this time of their lives. May I not try to find heaven’s rewards in this life, but continue to “press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me” (Philippians 3:12).

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