Today, I talked with a retired pastor/friend who retired from his pastorate in Maine. He is 86 years old and filled with joy. When I called him, he was playing the piano and singing. I asked him how he was doing, he said, “I praise the Lord, study my Bible and I take aerobics with weights at my own pace. I miss my wife! But I will get to see her again one day. [She died a few years ago.] I still preach once in awhile. I’ve outlived all of my siblings and in-laws. The pastor who followed me is the son of my roommate from Zion Bible College and he is a blessing to all of us. I’m selling my house and moving across town to be closer to my daughter and son-in-law.”
I asked him, “Now that you have retired, why aren’t you moving to Florida?” He said gruffly, “I’m not that big of a chicken! I was born and raised in Maine!” I couldn’t help myself from laughing loudly. The more we talked, he kept saying how happy he was that I called. “You have blessed my day, I’m going to sing some more,” he said. He actually made the future and aging sound hopeful.
Who do you know that is elderly, perhaps that could use an encouraging call to remind them they are love and appreciated?
Recently, I was having breakfast with another friend, who is retiring, By the way, he is moving to Florida. Chicken! As we talked about retirement, I made mention that retirement from ministry was something that I just couldn’t imagine. How could I retire from God’s call on my life to be a pastor?
He encouraged me when he said, “You enjoy what you do and it shows. You have reached a place of respect in our church, our community, and our denomination and I can see why you would never want to retire.”
Later, I remember the words and counsel of a friend who was a former District Superintendent in our denomination, “Dennis, develop the other facets of your life. You are more than a pastor. You are a man. You have passions and interests, develop them. So that if you ever find you are not able to pastor, you won’t die.” Those were wise words from a very wise man.
To my amusement, he collected pictures of tombstones with unusual epitaphs on them. To this day, whenever, I see one, I think of him. “Develop the other facets of your life.”
Growthwork Questions – What are your passions? What are the things you enjoy doing besides working? Do you enjoy what you do to earn a living? Are you making a life or are you making a living? What are you doing to prepare for your future as you age? Who are your role models for getting older?
I love to read and discuss your answers to these questions.
By the way, I’m going to go pick up my car from the shop, go home and work on some of my other passions, like running, family, reading a good book and maybe watch a little Monday night football!
Peace and Joy.