By Dave Saviola, Money Pastor, Arborbrook Financial Consultants
In studying the history of the concept of retirement, it did not take long to come across research and studies that seemed to prove this is another man-made concept that has the potential to do more harm than good. We couldn’t agree more.
In all our years of being hired to help people “see if they are on track for retirement,” we have noticed a common theme emerge as to what delays or holds most people back from actually retiring: they don’t want to. The sad part is, in many instances, our worth and purpose has been tied up in our labor, and that should not be the case.
A study by Harvard some years ago found that an area with one of the highest life expectancies in the world doesn’t even have a word in their language for retirement. The study looked at two different groups with the same physical characteristics and lifestyle habits. Participants who reported that they found their life purpose at the beginning of the study had higher levels of self-rated health, lower levels of stress, and a significantly longer lifespan than those without the ikigai.
Like all concepts related to money, work and possessions – the truth is found in The Bible which makes clear that storing up without purpose is dangerous. Wealth without intention is risky. And the retirement we should be working towards is more like reHirement.
Does God call us to work? Absolutely. Does He bring opportunities to serve Him in our jobs and our daily routines whatever they may be? For sure. Could He provide the resources for us to reduce our regular labor and spend most, if not all our waking hours in work serving Him and our neighbors around us? Certainly. If we are honest, however, we instead have mostly bought into a concept that our purpose is to (1) make money, then (2) save said money, to (3) spend saved money in a time of rest. This blueprint started in the early 18th Century as a way to move younger, more physically abled bodies into jobs older, less capable bodies were occupying. But, it has turned into much more than that and this model is not how we were designed. Among other issues, there are too many missed opportunities with family, friends and neighbors in this retirement approach.
Jesus made it clear that He came to give us all life, and life abundantly. His desire is for us to experience and live in that abundance all the days of our life, not in a future state where our nest egg is our security, and our focus is limited to fleeting pleasures. He has so much more for you and me.