At Work

Redirection not Retirement

You’re Never Too Old to Find Your Life Purpose
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One of the things I have observed living in Washington, D.C. is that it is a very transient city.

People come and go due to careers in government, working on government contracts, or working in the military. Because of this, you hear the terms “deployment,” “posting,” “assignment,” “contracted,” “stationed,” (which are all temporary) and then “retirement”—even if it’s only a retirement from a first career.

For this reason, the language of retirement has caught my attention recently and urged me to consider it in light of God’s call on our lives.

A Generation in Need

It is God’s call on our lives—our whole lives—that makes me see the idea of retirement as a myth. Now more than ever, I believe we are in a time where we are being stirred to action to use the gifts God has placed in us, no matter what stage of life we are in.

In Malachi 4:6, God says:

He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents, or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.

This, I believe, is something the Spirit of God is awakening in our day. The reason is that many people in positions of spiritual leadership today are largely fatherless. If not abandoned by their own fathers, there is an absence of fathering. Within the church, this has led to many living with an orphaned spirit, as there has been no biblical model of fathering to mentor, instruct, and teach people the truth of the father’s heart and his kingdom.

So, our heavenly father is currently speaking to a generation of fathers and mothers to arise and shine and take their place to parent a fatherless generation regardless of our age or stage in life.

Inner Renewal Despite Physical Decline

Not only is there great need around us, but we have access to an incredible source of strength to meet that need. In 2 Corinthians 4:16, Paul says, though we are wasting away, dying outwardly, we are daily being renewed inwardly.

In other words, we are not to think that just because outwardly we age and our bodies eventually die that inwardly we should be experiencing the same thing. The opposite is true. Inwardly, we can experience renewal and breathe in new life—partaking in a livelier, fresher, revived outlook on life. We can have greater levels of passion, zeal, spiritual energy, wiser insights, and clearer strategies. This inner revival is made available to us and can be taken hold of from within as the work of the Holy Spirit.

I do not dismiss the importance of planning for our later years, but I believe that if we only focus on slowing down, we miss out on an upgrade. Seeing life through the truth of what Jesus came to do in reconciling us to the father and to his kingdom not only changes our perspective but totally reorients our perspective.

Retirement is an opportunity for a redeployment, a recalibration, a reset, revival, reform, and a new trajectory.

For many, the thought of getting fired up again can feel too much like hard work. Seeking to animate what has become seemingly lifeless and visionless seems pointless.  Many who are retired simply cannot imagine themselves moving out again into the wild world of life. Lack of energy, zeal, vision, passion may all be factors. Some feel they no longer have anything to contribute and may have lost their sense of value or worth.

When we see our worth only in what we do or in a worldly definition of success, we can fall into the trap and evil lie of not having any worth. This lie paralyzes good people.

But, with God, nothing is impossible. Relying on and walking with the Holy Spirit can ignite even the soggiest of souls and the driest of dreams.

A Radical Reset May Be Just What You Need

Recently, at the ripe age of 50, I underwent my own “reset,” which led to a revival in my life.

It was not an identity or mid-life crisis. It was a belief-system, a way-of-thinking, and a trajectory crisis. I was not thinking about retirement, but it was a time and place that necessitated a change. I thank God for it because if I had continued in the mindset and momentum I was in, I fear where that would have led me and others.

After a passionate 27 years of serving the Lord, leading and planting churches, schools, businesses, and ministries, I discovered my trajectory needed to be realigned with kingdom truth.

Moving my family to the U.S. from South Africa, God said to us that we are not going to do what we have always done. All our defaults were challenged. Our abilities, giftings, experiences, accomplishments—everything—was challenged, even our resources. What we were left with was just us. No home, no money, no career, no backup. We had to be reinvented. First by submitting ourselves to God, and second, by putting our hand to things we had never done before. All we had to rely on was who he is and secondly who we are in him.

Through this process, my passion has become encouraging those considering retirement to instead consider a redirection—to imagine taking what they have learned in life, career, and business and transferring it to the next generation. Investing it as a part of their legacy, influence, and impact in life.

Engaging everyday life with this new perspective brings us into purposeful living, having an impact on generations to come.

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  • Ronnie Kamara

    Thanks for this interesting post. I’m turning 42 in September, and I’m going through a phase where I’m starting a fresh new phase of my life. I’m completing a divorce from a previous marriage that surely wasn’t God’s plan for me. I supernaturally met a great God fearing and beautiful woman, that God literally brought to me. The Lord has put us together for ministry that i believe will touch and transform lives.
    At one point I thought my life was going no where. After separating from my ex, and my seemingly purposeless.
    However God gave me a new lease on life, after serving Him and waiting upon Him, after my separation. A waiting where I lost all my businesses, and whichever work or business I tried failed. Till I realised God wanted me to serve Him in small church that was just starting up from a home fellowship, that I had just joined.
    I give glory to God. He never leaves us nor forsake us.

    • Ronnie,
      Thank you for the feedback and for sharing a bit of your journey. It is wonderful to hear testimonies of restoration and transformation. i am thrilled to hear about how you plan to reach out together with the Lord to see other lives transformed.
      I trust as you are led by the Lord that you will discover where and how to focus your God given gifts, talents and passion all to His glory.
      God bless you and happy 42nd birthday for September.

  • Ben Newell

    I agree wholeheartedly. I am also redirecting at age 61. I am not ready for retirement. I have 3 teenage young people who need my guidance, protection, and resources. More than the Biblical and right responsibility of parenting your children, I find that God did and is calling us more directly and creatively into our new direction/life/challenge/opportunity. I am continuing to explore Business as Mission (BAM) as my redirection since I am a business person and a believer in Christ. My conclusion is that there is no better or more urgent place for the Gospel than in the workplace. The benefits are or could be obvious. Fairness, compassion, encouragement, mentoring, partnering, building wealth or resources to take care of your family- all of these and more are reasons why we do have an obligation to respond to redirection, not retirement.
    Not all of us are called to be entrepreneurs. Some of us are called to be the best employee, mentor, teacher, trainer, etc. in the workplace we can be. But that is not happening enough for us redirected people. What better place for us than to be right beside a millenial doing the work together. We have lots of things, resources, experiences, and love to share with our younger generation. I see older folk like me working alongside younger folk in the retail business (food and otherwise) doing what God has called us to do in our more experienced ages. Personally, I am opening up several donut franchises in the next few years and I am told that my workforce will be teenagers mainly. I can see that but does it have to be that way. Come join me as we change the world one relationship at the time. Older, experienced men and women of God working with our next generation making a difference in God’s Kingdom here on earth.

    • Hi Ben,
      Thank you and well done. That is a brilliant future I see and what a way to do it! Outstanding.
      I totally agree that not everyone is an entrepreneur and that we are all called to invest our best into God’s Kingdom. I believe as we do this, as you have already discovered, W can creatively find ways to have the greatest impact and influence as Christ followers.
      I am extremely excited for you as you embark on this adventure.

  • Larry Morris

    A wonderful article containing a tremendous amount of insight.

    Thank You

  • Joseph Guagliardo

    Your post is very timely for me, and reminded me that I have to be ready to redirect possibly in new ways for the Lord. I retired this past January first after 23 years in ministry (Youth and Family). The first 6 month were a time of reflection, getting caught up on life a bit (a huge honey do list) and spending a lot of time with my wife who was diagnosed with M.S. last year.
    Although we have continued to attend church regularly (not the one I retired from), over the last few months I have felt a deep unrest. I realized in a short time it was God’s spirit stirring within me saying, “We’re not done yet Joe.”
    So I have slowly allowed myself to be drawn back into ministry, joining that new church, that has quite a different direction than my old one. I know that I am where I am supposed to be and God is speaking to me constantly as I redirect my efforts from myself (still much of my time on my wife) and once again teaching, sharing and being His light in this world. We never really retire until God says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

    • Joseph,
      Thank you, i am so blessed to hear of God’s timely reminders. Responding and submitting to the stirrings of God’s Spirit have undoubtedly shifted you into a whole new perspective and dimension as to what is still possible. His cue in saying to you, “We’re not done yet Joe” is an undeniable tip-off inviting you into something greater. I am sorry to hear about your wife’s diagnosis and stand with you believing for her healing.

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