The Perfect Retirement

Pictured above is the Point Reyes Lighthouse. It was built in 1870 on the windiest and second foggiest place in North America, the Point Reyes headlands, which are located about 10 miles from the San Francisco Bay area in California.  This incredibly well-constructed lighthouse has endured many hardships, including an earthquake in 1906, which displaced it 18 feet from its original location in less than one minute! As a result of the advancements in navigational technology and after fulfilling its life-saving duties for 105 years, this beacon finally joined the hundreds of other retired lighthouses across the U.S.A. Many of these once active Sentinels of the Sea have been either sold or donated to local municipalities and private organizations who then renovate them and make them available for public touring. Unfortunately, some of them have been left unattended and are slowly rotting away.

Retirement (noun)
a. the period after you have permanently stopped your job or profession.
b. removal of something from service or use.

Are you retired already or are you looking forward to that big day? Perhaps you’ve practically just entered the workforce and have a very long way to go. Either way, retirement is a life event which you will have to plan for and the sooner you do it, the better.

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For most people, retirement is both a time of completion and a time of new beginnings. Not everyone who retires gets to fulfill their life-long dream(s), but they all get a chance to finally end one chapter in the storybook of life and begin a new one. They also get a chance to sit back and reminisce about the gratifying (and the regrettable) moments they experienced while employed. If you haven’t done this already then you and I will both have an opportunity to do so at some point in the future. That is if we haven’t been called into eternity before then.

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Some people say they don’t plan to retire at all. They want to be able to work until the very end. By that, I suppose they mean till death comes knocking at their door. Such attitude is both honorable and commendable, especially if it means working for an evangelistic or humanitarian cause. But perhaps staying laboriously active until your last breath is not an option you’ve considered. You are probably among those who are looking forward to the day when you no longer have to wake up to go to “work.” If so, then what would you consider to be the perfect retirement? For me, it would begin with a trip around the world visiting as many lighthouses as possible while taking detours to explore the beauty of God’s creation. I would eventually come back home to take my daily morning walks with my dog along the beautiful flower path that leads to my private oceanfront lighthouse. Here, I would be able to pray, meditate, and be inspired to keep writing my Lighthouse Devotions without interruptions, except for when my wife shows up with a hot cup of Chai Latte and a slice of cheesecake.

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Speaking of perfect retirement, here are some of the images that came up as a result of a Google search for “perfect” or “dream” retirements. [click to enlarge]

Maybe your idea of a perfect retirement is similar to one of the images above or perhaps it’s something even more fascinating. It may even be something that others would not consider to be a retirement at all. But regardless of what you and I may think a truly peaceful and fulfilling retirement is, NOTHING compares with the retirement that our Heavenly Father has prepared for those who love Him. For those who have accepted His Son as Savior and have finished their pilgrimage through the heavy-laden path of life. And while we may be able to reap some of the benefits of laboring for His kingdom here on earth, our ultimate recompense will be when we finally hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.

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As I sit down to pen this devotion I can’t help but think of an old (Spanish) song I use to sing at church during my early teen years. “Mas allá del sol, mas allá del sol.  Yo tengo un hogar, bello hogar mas allá del sol. ” (Beyond the sun, beyond the sun. I have a home, a beautiful home beyond the sun.)

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Not only beyond the sun but beyond anything we could ever imagine is that place where the redeemed of the Lord will one day retire for all eternity. Forget about no more toiling, how about no more dying, no more crying, and no more pain? And it doesn’t matter whether or not you get to stroll along white sandy beaches that overlook turquoise waters, how about basking in the glory of God while walking tirelessly through a street made of gold so pure that it resembles a sea of clear glass? Just think, the world’s most beautiful and costliest structure cannot compare to the splendor of the golden city that is adorned with every precious stone imaginable. A city that has 12 breathtaking gates, each fashioned from a single pearl! Even the most luxuriant earthly landscapes are no match to the beauty of the river of the water of life which flows from the throne of God or the tree of life whose leaves will serve for the healing of the nations. This is the place where Paul and all of God’s children will finally receive their retirement crown. This is the place that Jesus said He would go to prepare for us so that we could be with Him. This, undoubtedly, is THE perfect retirement!

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Until the day we get to retire for all eternity, we must count it a privilege and an honor to be (or have been) able to work.  And when/if the day of our earthly retirement does come, whether we choose to keep working or live a life of leisure, we should embrace it with a sense of fulfillment, gratitude, and joy. I surely wouldn’t mind spending the rest of my retired years visiting lighthouses and writing about them in my very own cozy beacon by the sea. Hopefully, one of these will be available for sale by then! [click on images to enlarge]

Prayer: Oh God, Maker of heaven and earth, I look forward to the day when I am retired to be with you. The day when I enter my eternal rest along with all the redeemed of the Lord. Until that day, help me to remain faithful and strong in my faith. Renew me physically, mentally, and spiritually, so that I may continue to shine your light until the day when your glory is the only light shining. 

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES
“Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” -Revelations 14:13
“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” – Matthew 25:21 (ESV)
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus…” Acts 20:24 (ESV)
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” -Hebrews 6:10
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” -John 14:2-4 (ESV)
“Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2down the middle of the main street of the city. On either side of the river stood a tree of life, producing twelve kinds of fruit and yielding a fresh crop for each month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”-Revelation 22:1-2
“And the city has no need for sun or moon to shine on it, because the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24By its light the nations will walk, and into it the kings of the earth will bring their glory.” -Revelations 21:23-24 (BSB)
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.
ADDITIONAL LINKS
A Vision of Heaven – Revelation 21
IMAGE CREDITS
© Point Reyes Lighthouse by Frank Schulenburg, April 2012
The Lighthouse Keeper, Dalmatian, by Donna Gelsinger

 

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10 thoughts on “The Perfect Retirement

  1. Thanks Joe. This post really spoke to me. I turn 60 this year. I am self-employed and had originally planned to retire at 60! Well, the bank took my money but their pension plan wasn’t what they told me it was so retirement for a few years yet is out of the question. But I do get a small navy pension in June!

    These days God is teaching me to trust Him more, and I am learning that retirement, like everything else, will come in his time, not mine. It’s not that I am eager to stop work – just that there are so many other things I want to do – for Him as well as for my family and myself.

    I love those Spanish words. I will think of them this week as I travel to Spain with work. I had been trying to learn a few words before I go as it is a few years since I was last in Spain, but I haven’t got so far! The words to that old Spanish song from your youth are all I need.

    Blessings, David

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, David. You are one step ahead of those who are planning for their retirement, you are trusting God! He knows your heart and, like you said, in His timing, He will open the door for you to enter the anteroom of the eternal retirement. Until then, keep brushing up on your Spanish my hermano. ¡Dios te bendiga!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gracias Joe! Unfortunately I have far more French and Welsh than I do Spanish. It is so long since I touched Spanish that all my resources but one are on cassette tape! But I have some Michel Thomas Learn Spanish CDs that I have been using.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent! Retirement does mean many different things to everyone. I agree the ultimate retirement will be when we step into heaven with Jesus for eternity! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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