By Doug Hanson
The orange was ripe and ready to pick. The day was hot, and I needed a juicy refreshment – especially one that was hanging on a tree branch within my reach as I walked down the sidewalk. So, I picked it. Soon I heard the voice of a woman in a nearby house, scolding me for picking an orange off her tree.
I was in high school on vacation with my family in Europe. We were visiting Monaco, a sovereign city-state on the Mediterranean Sea, and we were finishing up a day of walking and seeing the sites. Since the branches of the orange tree were hanging over the public sidewalk, I didn’t see any harm in picking an orange. Unfortunately, it was not a well-thought-out decision – especially when I hurried down the sidewalk after the scolding (with the orange in my hand).
My spontaneous act was a poor decision (I still feel guilty). On a larger scale, we can sometimes approach retirement like that. We can retire without thinking through what lies ahead of us. We can retire without coming up with a game plan for the rest of our lives. But, more alarmingly, we can retire without a sense of what Scripture teaches about retirement. Our approach to retirement should mirror a biblically responsible approach to investing. The goal of biblically responsible investing is to bless others with our investments. Scripture commands us to love our neighbor. Therefore, we should invest in companies whose products and practices not only serve, but also value, the life of our neighbor.
In the first few verses of Genesis chapter 12, we read that Abraham was blessed to be a blessing. We should do likewise. What does the Bible teach about blessing others? One way Scripture captures the concept is through the phrases “do good” or “good works.”
- “Do not neglect todo good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 3:16)
- “Always seek todo good to one another and to everyone.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
- “So then, as we have opportunity, let usdo good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)
- “Learn todo good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:17)
- “Trust in the Lord anddo good.” (Psalm 37:3)
- “And let our people learn to devote themselves togood works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.” (Titus 3:14)
- “And let us consider how to stir up oneanother to love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24)
- “They are todo good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.” (1 Timothy 6:18)
- “Show yourself in all respects to be a model ofgood works.” (Titus 2:7)
When I look at these verses, I’m struck by the emphasis on being generous. Our generosity should be a model for others to follow as we offer help, while we trust in the Lord and seek to please Him. We often think of retirement as a time entirely devoted to leisure, but is that truly how God wants us to spend our later years? Leisure is part of God’s plan – He rested on the seventh day – but not the objective of His plan because we are to be “redeeming the time” (Ephesians 5:16).
Retirement to a life of leisure or retirement from blessing others is not God’s plan. Instead, this is God’s plan for us: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). We were created for good works – even in retirement!
Blessing others in retirement can take many forms. Perhaps it involves continuing to work part-time to provide necessary finances for our family. Perhaps it involves giving of our time to speak into the lives of others. Perhaps it involves using our skills to help someone in need. Perhaps it involves using our financial resources to serve others. The ideas are endless – if we are serious about being a blessing in retirement.
What we don’t want to do is replicate my unplanned orange-picking decision many years ago! It was not a decision I thought through, evidenced by me still contemplating it today. Rather, as we move through the latter stages of life, let’s have a plan to imitate Christ: “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4).
Doug Hanson is an investment advisor with Christian Wealth Management in Boise, providing biblically responsible investment advice to Christians. For more information, visit investforthegloryofgod.com or contact him at [email protected] or (208) 697-3699.
Investment advisory services provided by Creative Financial Designs, Inc. Securities are offered through CFD Investments, Inc., Member FINRA & SIPC, 2704 South Goyer Road, Kokomo, IN 46902, 795-453-9600. Christian Wealth Management, LLC is not affiliated with CFD Investments, Inc. or Creative Financial Designs, Inc.