Working v Retiring

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12 

Older workers are once again in the news, after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced changes in the retirement and re-employment ages, and in the Central Provident Fund contribution rates. More will also be done to help older workers adapt to technological changes and raise their productivity, so that they can continue their careers well into their 60s and beyond. I am sure there are some who would still like to retire early.

But there are others who would welcome the changes. They feel that working longer will help them keep their sense of worth and purpose, because they can continue to contribute to their families instead of becoming idle in retirement.

The news prompted me to reflect on my own life journey. While I’ve always believed in serving the Lord in whatever ways I can—at work, in church, and in the community—I wonder what will happen when I am unable to do all this one day. Where will my worth and purpose come from then?

Then an inspiration came—from my own mother.

When Mum accepted Jesus as her Lord and Saviour at the age of 84 (she is now 93), she found it hard to attend church because of her age. So I got her the large-print version of Our Daily Bread, which she read every morning. It brought me much joy to see her keenness to find out what God had to say to her each day.

In recent days, however, even reading Our Daily Bread has become hard because of her deteriorating health and eyesight. Yet this has not deterred Mum from wanting to be close to God. Now, she tells me, she’ll spend time praying to God daily.

Even in her late age, my mother does not feel that it is too late for her to learn about God and to trust Him. It struck me then: Her sense of worth and purpose did not come from doing things, but from simply trusting God.

In Psalm 90:12, the psalmist prays: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” How interesting, that as we get on in age, we are reminded not to “work hard” for God, but simply to focus on growing in His wisdom. That is where we can find our true worth and purpose!

Though she tires easily from reading, my mum continues to worship God through her daily quiet time and prayers. Her example spurs me to treasure the opportunity I have to read and learn from God’s Word. And that even when reading is difficult, I can continue to stay in a conversation with God through prayer. I am also reminded of how God has promised to be with us through our old age and beyond:

 

Even to your old age and grey hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
—Isaiah 46:4

—C. H. Tan

 

Father, help me to remember that
my true worth and purpose lie
not in doing things and being someone,
but simpy in seeking You.
Grant me the passion and strength
to keep seeking You in Your Word,
and give me the heart
to know You more and more each day,
for I know You will carry me through
as You have promised.

Every day is an opportunity to draw closer to God.

 

Veteran pastor and writer Robert Solomon looks at what it means to finish the race, staying faithful to the end. Read https://ourdailybread.org/article/ending-well//

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