December 21, 2021
Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind. (2 Peter 1:12-15)
For the follower of Christ, retirement is a myth, and should be. Everyone will face a season where they must transition from their current form of employment. If our paid job has been seen as our primary mission, we have nothing to do. But for the faithful follower of Christ, our occupation has never been our main responsibility.
I WILL ALWAYS BE READY
The Apostle Peter had experienced a moment of unreadiness. With the crow of a rooster, the evidence of his unfaithfulness became clear and left an indelible mark on his soul. He would never let that happen again.
Since that fateful night, Peter had lived a vigilant life. He was “always ready” to do the most important thing. He constantly reminded people of God’s truth. He was always discipling others, always sharing the gospel. Always leading others to Christ and to a deeper love for Christ. It was his greatest passion.
AS LONG AS I AM IN THIS EARTHLY DWELLING
When did Peter plan to retire from his job? 60? 70? 90? There was no timeframe. The venue might change, but not the calling. He was going to work for Christ until he died.
KNOWING THAT THE LAYING ASIDE OF MY EARTHLY DWELLING IS IMMINENT
As Peter wrote, the Lord Jesus had made it clear to Peter that he was at heaven's gate. But this did not deter him. Here he is, with almost his final breath, still working. Still proclaiming. Still serving. Still writing. Still discipling.
AFTER MY DEPARTURE YOU WILL BE ABLE TO CALL THESE THINGS TO MIND
Peter’s great desire was that his work would be enduring, not for his’s sake, but for his hearers and his Master. He wanted to speak and write in ways that would bear lasting fruit.
The Lord chose to write these God-inspired letters through a tired, but willing servant and place them in the Bible. In his last days, this aged saint had the privilege of being part of the greatest work of the Spirit. If Peter had given up early to a life of leisure, these two books of Scripture might never have been written. For sure they would not have borne Peter's name or been a part of his legacy.
Upon his deathbed, Peter had no idea that his desire would be granted. That his final letters would be read by multiplied millions until the end of time.
Because Peter never saw retirement for his own pleasure a thing to be pursued, God used him in a mighty, enduring way. His last work was his best work, to the glory of God.
Be careful. Resist the retirement myth. It's a lie from the one who wants to disable Christ's seasoned warriors who have the most time, greatest accumulated wisdom, and are poised for a final, enduring contribution to the kingdom.
Father, thank You for giving us a mission that never ends. That when we transition from one form of employment, it never means retirement from the most important task. That we can always be fulfilled and that our last work may be the most valuable for others and the kingdom. Help us to finish strong and use us, Lord, right up to the end!
March 29, 2023
As a pastor for the last 55 years, I have had the joy of being encouraged and blessed and prayed for by so many people. It is what carries you in your task of shepherding people. As I look back over five decades of ministry, their love has dramatically enriched my life.
But also, a pastor leads. And when anyone leads, there are almost always some who disagree.
March 28, 2023
March 27, 2023