I believe people who do honest hard work to retire at an early age deserve a well-earned rest.
At least, that’s what I used to believe.
I mean, it is a noble quest and I understand the value of hard work. It’s what we are taught at school and by society is the desired outcome of a good life. Almost everything you do is aimed at fulfilling the aim of retiring at some point to enjoy the fruits of your years of labour.
My Mother was an avid reader. She would read anything she could lay her hands on. But my Mother loved Christian books the most. She always had little piles of books all around the house. She could read two or three books at a time. She carried on reading at this pace until before she died. Over many years, she amassed a sizable collection of books.
My Mother read to learn. She seldom read a novel. My Mother also loved to write. In most of her books – even the novels – she would write little notes and underline sentences that interested her. My Mom would often write a note on a piece of paper of something she is thinking about at the time and keep it inside the book.
Almost two years after my Mom died, I was sorting through her books. Knowing that the books probably contained a few sentimental notes or cards used as bookmarks, I turned each book upside-down and ran my fingers through the pages. I picked up a book without looking at the title, and as I flipped the pages, a blue piece of writing paper fell out. The book by John Piper was:
Don’t Waste Your Life.
The folded piece of paper revealed a short letter to a close friend of mine.
For whatever reason, my Mom never gave the book to me to give to him. My friend had made some bad decisions and was going through a tough time. In the letter, she expresses her condolences for his recent misfortunes. She goes on to implore him to pick himself up and be the man God intended him to be. She begs him to read the book and not waste his life.
I read the book and it got me thinking: Is that ‘well-earned’ retirement a reward for a life well-lived?
If we derive our value from the glorious life we have carved out for ourselves, if this is our purpose, the shallowness should concern us.
“I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider this story from the February 1998 Reader’s Digest: A couple ‘took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30-foot trawler, play softball, and collect shells.’“
That is a tragedy.
We were created to live joyfully in all spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. We are created to think and dream and plan and work.
We were not to be made much of but to make much of others.
Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄
PS – #MyFridayStory has been published every week for 3 Years this week and I’d like to thank you for the support and encouragement along the way. I’ve had bundles of fun and look forward to sharing more weekly stories with you. 🙏