Serve Well in Retirement
In a recent conversation, a gentlemen said, “I have only three more years until retirement. I am ready to start the next chapter of my life.”
Many people identify “starting a new chapter in life” with major life events such as starting school, driving a car, getting married, serving overseas in mission, beginning a new career, having children, or retiring.
Life can be seen as a series of stories divided into chapters of a book. Each story reveals a new dream, joy, or hardship. Some chapters are difficult to live through, while others are a breeze. Many dog eared pages are filled with favorite memories, while other pages are hard to reread.
God, the Author of our stories, guides us with grace and gives us courage for the blank pages ahead. Each day, we hope our lives illustrate acts of mercy and tell stories of faith.
The Creator desires for our stories, from beginning to end, to align with His redemptive love story. As we place our trust in God, we join Him in the good work He is already doing.
Daniel Kahneman, an Israeli American psychologist and economist, writes how the ending of our stories tend to shape our understanding of the whole story. Research shows how often the last days, years, or even moments of an event or a life can impact how we remember the whole of an experience, event, or life. For example, when comparing a so-so vacation that ends well to a long great vacation that ended in turmoil, when planning the next vacation people will not return to the better one because of their last memory that it ended badly. The last moments of a vacation, event or a life are important. Often, these last moments can taint or celebrate the whole experience, so may we end everything well.
During their retirement years, many people live well by enjoying God’s creation on the golf course, volunteering in the community, or providing care for loved ones. I would like to introduce you to retiree, Glenn Martin. Over the years, I have served with Glenn in the church, in the community, and in Haiti. Glenn lives life to the fullest through service to God and service to others. Learn more about power-washing playgrounds with Glenn by clicking on the video or reading his story below.
Hi, I’m Glenn Martin. I moved to Virginia in 2003 from Alaska. I spent twenty-five years in Alaska. I was in the hospitality business. I was a prison warden, which is all the same; accommodations, people, and meals. When I moved and retired, I ran a bed and breakfast for several years. Now, I am truly in retirement.
I spend most of my time doing different projects. People ask me, "What type of projects?" I tell them that I was a preschool teacher for a few years and during that time I power-washed their playground. Then something clicked. If I can do this playground, there must be many other playgrounds in the area that I could power-wash. The amazing thing is when I power-wash, I feel the force of God coming through me through the power-washing. It's a way that I can serve others. It's a way that I can clean playgrounds to make them safe for kids and families. And, it's fun. It makes me feel like a Jedi, out there cleaning these playgrounds.
When people ask me, "Why do you do this?" I simply tell them this is my way of serving; serving our Lord; doing what God expects us to do by serving others. I think of it like a GPS. We are all familiar with the GPS system and how that it gets us to where we want to go. Well, I also think of GPS as Glorifying God, Proclaiming His Word, and Serving Others. The GPS that I have in here [pointing to his heart], helps me to go into the community and serve others. Power-washing playgrounds is a marvelous way that I can serve.
Before leaving for a year long mission trip to Alaska, Glenn's father shared the scripture verse 1 Peter 4:8-10 with him. Glenn carries this favorite verse with him throughout all he does in life; "Above all, love each other deeply, offer hospitality to one another without grumbling, and use whatever gift you have received to serve others."
This weekend, take a simple step in mission - before or during retirement - by letting the world read God's great love story in the pages of your life.
Rev. April H. Cranford