My wife and I have thought about this alot, even though we are nearing what most Americans view as their golden years of retirement. We have already experienced being on the American mission fields working with local churches(believe me, they are definitely a mission field); working with American Indian people and Carrier Indian people of B.C., Canada. We’ve been to Russia working with orphan children (our own children have made many trips there themselves doing the same ministries). Now after my wife’s mother (who served as a mission secritary up until she was put in a nursing home) passed away to be with the Lord, we are again considering foreign fields white unto harvest. Yes, we understand deeply the mind-set of having and investing in Heavenly treasures. It is much better to burn out than rust out. God bless!
At the moment my father is in the war-torn land of Afghanistan. This comes on the heels of mission trips to Viet Nam and Brazil and precedes his annual three-month trip to Kenya. What is remarkable is that my Dad is 72 years-old.
Ten years ago, my parents “retired.” Dad was done with his work in Long Beach. He wanted to help people who no one else would help. He and mom redefined the word “retirement.” Their generation had defined it as a time of rest and recreation, a time to focus on pleasure. In contrast, my parents saw their new phase as a time to focus on helping others.
I wager that my parents are happier than those of their peers who have embraced the conventional concept of retirement. They put their lives at risk; they are frequently uncomfortable. Yet they have made friends among the needy around the world. By exercising the habit of giving instead of pursuing a life of ease and pleasure, they have nurtured their souls. They have given their children an inheritance that no man can steal, a definition of retirement that extends beyond the search for one’s own pleasure.