Everyone loves a holiday…at least if the amount of traffic on Southern California freeways is any indication. The opportunity to take off work, get away, and not worry about the concerns of everyday life, is a welcome occurrence. Of course, rarely does a holiday go as idyllic as we imagine it, but still, the chance to get away from it all is applauded.
Perhaps the “get away from it all dream” is most prominently demonstrated in the American mindset towards retirement. Just last week, I was talking with a recently graduated student who was already looking towards how he would spend retirement. Sure, dreaming and planning can be good things, but we have developed a culture that has an aversion to work. While many may blame the younger generations, it is an infection that crosses generational bounds; many boomers feel cheated that the recent economic recession will upend their plans for retirement.
While this predilection is understandable, I’m not sure its biblical. While the Old Testament certainly gives prominence to elders, there’s little indication that they ceased to actively manage their household affairs. And since their household affairs were their jobs, there seems to be little indication that they gave up gainful employment. Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David all appeared to work until the very end. Retirement only occurred when they went to their Father’s home.
I tend to think that their spiritual children should do the same. We are, after all, promised eternal rest. There’s no need for us to take a prolonged respite here on Earth, as we can look forward to a heavenly one. Additionally, Christ promises that, as we take on His burden and do His work, He will provide us rest here (Matthew 11:29). Sure, our work may not always be for a paycheck, but that doesn’t abdicate our responsibility to continue to work for Him.
Someone famously said, “I’d rather burn out than rust out.” May every Christian do the same.