I’ve been thinking about retirement for about 5 years. I knew that I wanted to make it to both 30 years at Ridgecrest and 40 years in vocational ministry. Those sounded like good round figures. I also knew that the numbers needed to work. By that I mean the financial numbers. We wanted to make sure that we could sufficiently provide for ourselves for the next 40 years – or however many years we have left on this earth. In other words, we didn’t want your parents (or you) to have to use their resources to care for us. Though we knew that they would gladly do so.
I also wanted to make sure that I had a purposeful retirement. Retirement is not a word that you come across in Scripture. My guess is that retirement is an industrialized nation notion. It is probably a foreign idea to much of the world. So while I don’t mind the idea of retirement I prefer to think of this next part of my journey as non-compensated intentional work for the glory of God. Work was intended by God from the very beginning to be a blessing. And believe you me I’ll take all the blessing that I can get.
A few years ago I established four values that I wanted to guide my life, not just the vocational years of my life. Hence the phrase “values-driven retirement” that I titled this post. Here are the first two for your pondering…
The Value of Legacy Building – Perhaps you know that I am a first generation believer. In other words, I am the first person in my family to become a believer in Jesus. For this reason it has been important to me to establish a spiritual legacy for our family. My hope is that your grandkids and their grandkids and their grandkids are all walking with Jesus and that our family, should Jesus tarry, is having a significant influence for the sake of the kingdom. You are now generation number 3. Nona and I are thrilled to see that our 3 kids have chosen to walk with Jesus and have chosen spouses that walk with Jesus and are raising you to walk with Jesus.
What does legacy building look like in real life? To coin a phrase borrowed by Eugene Peterson, I think it has a lot to do with “a long obedience in the same direction” – (the phrase was actually and surprisingly penned by the famed atheist philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche). Legacy building is not flashy. It has to do with consistency and character and integrity, and I hope that you will remember me for these. Yes, there are some tangible things that I am also doing – like these Pop Pop Epistles, Brick by Brick ponderings, creating shared experiences, etc. but those would mean nothing if the other things were not true.
The Value of Scuba Diving – Which is kind of a weird value given that I have NEVER been scuba diving. So what do I mean? Picture a glass bottom boat. As you look through the glass you get a glimpse of some beautiful fish IF the boat driver takes you to the right spot. This is how most people encounter the Word of God. Their experience is dependent on the preacher revealing the beauty of Scripture. He is the driver of the boat.
But what if you got out of the boat and put on some snorkeling gear and actually got in the water yourself. What if your encounter with God’s Word was dependent on your initiative and you were able to seek out the beauty of Scripture yourself. I have been snorkeling and I have been amazed to see the beauty of all kinds of God’s underwater creatures. But snorkeling only allows you to see what is just below the surface. I have been told that if you REALLY want to experience the spectacular artistry of God’s aquatic creation then you need to go deep. You need to scuba dive. Scuba diving requires personal investment. You have to be coached in how to do it. There is risk involved. It takes time and effort. But there is also great reward.
And the same is true with regard to Scripture. There are incredible discoveries waiting to be found if you are willing to do what it takes to find them. I don’t want to be content with a surface reading of Scripture. I want to explore the depths. I want to see the beauty of God’s Word that can only be seen if I get out of the boat and go “scuba diving.”
I will share the other two values in my next post so that this one does not get too long.
Never forget that you are very loved,