Dr. Russell Lee

“Retirement is the time when you never do all the things you intended to do when you were still working.” ~Time Management - That’s humor right there!

The time has come, after more than 40 years of ministry to retire and see what other things God has in mind for me and my family. I will still write the Carpenter’s Workshop for three more weeks, but, come the end of October, this column will be blank, unless the newspaper decides to print a rerun or two.

They say ministers never retire, they just go out to pastor (pasture, get it?). As full-time ministry comes to an end, I am sure God has many more things in mind.

I will be living near the mountains of Virginia, where the sunrises are spectacular and the adventures are many. Being near family will be important, as well as new vistas planned and unplanned.

Here is a saying I will post in the shop. “Retirement is an amazing opportunity to find new adventures, to climb new mountains and to enjoy a life you once only dreamed of!” ~ Unknown

A friend, in fact more than one friend, told me that it is important to have goals in retirement, or things can get old and stale. So, there are many things I am planning to accomplish in this exciting time of life.

There is only one place in the Bible where retirement is mentioned. It has much insight for those facing retirement.

The Lord said to Moses, “This applies to the Levites: Men 25 years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the Tent of Meeting, but at the age of 50, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the Tent of Meeting, but they themselves must not do the work.” ~Numbers 8:23-26

The implication is that in retirement, we don’t do the same work we did, but we “may” assist in doing that work. I’m not sure if this means they may have permission or that they may do it if they happen to want to from time to time.

I’m taking it as the second, as retirement gives choices one did not have before. There are many projects on the horizon that I have planned, but I will have to see where God leads. Sometimes we have big plans, and God says, “by the way …”.

You remember Moses, who was enjoying his grandchildren and tending his flocks, when God asked him to lead his people out of 500 years of bondage to the Egyptians. He did, and it was the time of his life.

One of my favorite words is “Joy, and the formula is Jesus, others, you, as a good order of priority. I will take joy with me always and pray that you will as well, dear reader.

“The joy of retirement,” says Brian Pulsifer, “comes in those everyday pursuits that embrace the joy of life; to experience daily the freedom to invest one’s life-long knowledge for the betterment of others; and, to allocate time to pursuits that only received, in years of working, a fleeting moment.”

Retirement is certainly a change, and offers ways of thinking for the future. Trusting in God and his leadership, we can go forward in confidence. We can hold true to the meaningful, and look forward to new things as well.

“Retirement is one of those consequential changes in life, it offers us a unique opportunity to start over, to move beyond the past and to once again live forward.” Rick Steiner Ph.D., Retirement: Different by Design

We have a great opportunity in retirement, so they say, for I have not been there quite yet, to have an impact on others. Just because we are advanced in years, does not mean we are old. “Stay young at heart, kind in spirit, and enjoy retirement living.” ~Danielle Duckery

Here is a nice poem for use of those who need to give a retirement speech for someone who retires or simply as a code to live by in those days.

R etire, now it is your time to:

e xperience all that life has to offer,

t ake time to smell the roses,

i nvestigate your hobbies,

r evitalize your dreams, and,

e mbark on a new way of life!

~Catherine Pulsifer

And, finally, a prayer, and Irish blessing for us all at whatever age.

May you always have work for your hands to do.

May your pockets hold always a coin or two.

May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.

May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.

May the hand of a friend always be near you.

And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.”

Irish Blessing

Thank you for listening over the years, and for sharing the good news of the gospel with other people. That is why we are born, and are born again.