"There is no such thing as retirement in relation to God's purposes. One may retire from a job, but never from life, never from ministry," Howard Hendricks, former chair of the Center for Christian Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary, once said. He was 87 at the time.
He believed that life — including retirement — is lived to the fullest when it is lived with purpose and meaning. Even though some people may face economic or health challenges in retirement, they still can do something meaningful with their remaining years.
Some retirees seek additional education, while others begin a second or third career. Many mature adults begin or increase volunteerism, and others look for more ways to assist their families.
To help you find a meaningful purpose in retirement, ask yourself some probing questions.
• What do you really want to do at this stage of life? Remember, you still have options.
• What have you always wanted to do? Is there a skill you've wanted to develop or one you have but haven't used?
• Are there restrictions, such as health or financial issues, which will affect your choices? If so, outline ways in which you might be able to overcome them, or list possible alternatives.
• What gifts or talents have you been using in your career or at home or at church? One man in Indiana always planted a garden. He turned that hobby into a second career after the company for which he worked forced him to retire at 65.
• How might you direct those gifts or talents to serve others or the church? While employed, the Indiana man began caring for the grounds at his church. Now retired a second time, he heads groundskeeping for the congregation.
• Is God calling or nudging you to assist with an established ministry or perhaps to start a new one?
A retired Texas woman began working with disaster relief by donating boxes and packing paper, covered with Scripture and encouraging words, to be distributed to disaster victims. Now she and her sister travel around the country in an RV to assist at disaster sites.
• Remember to consider your family. How will the retirement choices you make affect your spouse and your family? What can you do together?
The old cliché depicts mature adults rocking away their retirement years. That picture may not be too far from the truth today, according to a CBS News report on April 25, 2011.
"The average retiree spends 43 hours per week watching TV, while less than 4 percent of retirees invest more than four hours per week helping others and only 27 percent do community service," CBS reported.
Be one of the few. Make your retirement meaningful.