Re-purposing Retirement

But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; They will remain vital and green. Psalm 92:12-14 NLT

We spend a lot of time working to quit working. Twenty, thirty, even forty years, socking money into our 401K and IRA’s. Some build six figure, maybe even 7 figure balances. Very impressive. Nothing wrong with sailing south to some sunny location either, and many choose to do this. And who can blame them on some chilly February morning with the power out. But, can I say this without offending, it’s not time to sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor with a mindset that we deserve it? Instead, it is time to get up, go out, and make disciples wherever God positions us. And now you have the freedom to do it! But do you have the strength and endurance to really serve God?“

Here we go again, she’s going to tell us we should have been building a six-pack instead of a six-figure IRA!” Anyone who has ever been to one of my classes knows it is never about appearance or weight loss, that happens as part of an overall spirit, mind, and body transformation. 1 Timothy 4:7 tells us, “We discipline our bodies for God’s purposes.”

My Senior Strength Students are loyal and committed to keeping their bodies fit. Even though I push them harder as they become stronger, they never complain and thankfully keep showing up for class. They recognize the benefits of the class and its important role in service to God. If someone attends my class on a regular basis, they know there is more to fitness than meets the eye. They realize it is a workout with the Word. If teaching was only superficial and appearance driven, I probably would have retired years ago.

But before we retire, perhaps we should consider the words of Dwight L. Moody, “Preparation for old age should not begin later than one’s teens. A life which is empty of purpose until 65 will not suddenly become filled on retirement.” Hum, what should I do with these years before I retire?

Consider investing in others! What you know has value and can help the next generation. Back when I was a fresh-faced kid, someone saw potential and poured their knowledge into me. She was several years older than me, but because of her energy and enthusiasm for people, seemed vibrant and youthful. She taught me everything she knew about fitness, and that was a lot. Little did she know, the potential she observed had been built by another, my mother, constantly reminding me to stand up straight and maintain good posture.

Fitness looked different back then. There were no bells and whistles. Well, there were no kettle bells and the closest thing to a whistle was a squeak from someone’s deviated septum on the back row. The classes were packed with young, middle age, and older students, all working out at their own pace. Age was not a factor and they seemed to enjoy sharing their fitness experiences with one another.

It is difficult to express my feelings as a fitness instructor seeing my students be transformed. Not necessarily the physical transformation, while powerful, but the reshaping of their heart to fit the purpose God created them to do. Seeing them set free from their past, emotionally healed, the peace and joy that settles upon them, it’s a God thing! The Lord has allowed me to witness students in flight, soaring to His heavenly heights! So very rewarding!

For some of us, before we can re-purpose our retirement, we must visit the chiropractor of the mind, Father God, for an “attitude adjustment.” This idea that “I am too old, too tired, or have nothing to offer” are just excuses. Snap out of it and pop the devil right in his lie! The Bible tells us to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” How do we do that? We read His Word daily. Lack energy, try joining your friends at a Senior Strength Training Fitness class, you may be surprised at what He can do when you are committed to serving God.

If nothing else, start walking, and walk, and walk, and walk, till you are running to the purpose God designed you to do. Colonel Sanders has his herbs and spicy chicken fingers all over the huge Salvation Army Facility in Louisville. All of this was done after he was “retired.” Sanders chose to throw his rock in the pond and God turned the ripple into a wave!

There is a very serious lesson in Luke 12 which may be helpful contemplating plans for retirement and life in general.

Jesus tells the people, “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

My senior fitness students will tell you my constant reminder, “Our eternal retirement in heaven is our reward, but while we are here on this side of heaven, there are great things yet to be done for our Lord.”

Picture: Rex & Kaye Whiteman both participate in my Senior Strength Training classes.

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