I recently led our church in voting on a new pastor. Our people happily voted by a 99% margin to replace me after 25 years! The next morning my wife asked me how I felt. My reply? I feel great!
You might read into my reply that I am excited about retirement. Actually, you would be mistaken, because I don’t believe in retirement. I am not excited because I have retired and am looking forward to a stress free life of daily golf. (Those who know me well know that there are few things more stressful to me than trying to hit a golf ball.) I am feeling great because we are following God’s plan for our life in beginning a new ministry that we believe will be every bit as busy and productive as the one we are leaving.
After 40 years of pastoral work, we are dedicating the rest of our lives to planting churches in the 1040 window which contains the world’s least evangelized countries. We have the privilege of reaching people who have literally never heard the name of Jesus.
I don’t believe in retirement if it means we stop devoting our full energy to spreading the gospel among those who have the least access, therefore the greatest need.
If you want to know why I don’t believe in retirement I will show you a verse and a photo.
First a verse: Isaiah got a vision of the holiness of God that changed his life. His response was to volunteer to serve. He received a command to go and tell people of the greatness of God. He asked the question “how long?” (When do I retire?)
Here is the answer and the reason I don’t believe in retirement.
“Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate.”—Isaiah 6:11
I will believe in retirement for a Christian when the whole world has heard the good news of Jesus. Until then, I plan to keep on doing everything I can to reach people with the gospel.
Now the photo: This is San and Yom. Barnabas1040.com is supporting them to go full time in the gospel ministry reaching their own people in the 1040 window.
They are former Muslims who have endured much persecution for Christ. They are now working full time to reach the Muslim villages surrounding the capital city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
As long as there are people like San and Yom willing to plant churches among their own people with our help, I won’t believe in retirement.