Click below to listen to Episode 173 – Is Retirement Biblical
Is Retirement Biblical
Did you know that retirement is only mentioned ONCE in the Bible, and working is mentioned over 500 times!?
Join financial advisors, Bob Barber and Shawn Peters, as they discuss the Biblical view on retirement. Drawing from Numbers 8:23-26, the only passage in the Bible explicitly mentioning retirement, they note that the Bible’s context of retirement doesn’t perfectly align with typical Western ideas. The Bible actually heavily emphasizes the importance of work, viewing it as a blessing, not a curse.
Retirement for Christians should not mean disengaging from life to pursue leisure but should instead be a phase to serve others. It can be a time to focus on ‘marketplace ministry,’ using your skills and extra time to volunteer. While they’re not against leisure activities like golf, they caution that an obsession with such activities in retirement can lead to depression and a lack of fulfillment. Proper planning—both financial and spiritual—is essential for a meaningful, Biblically-aligned retirement.
HOSTED BY: Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
CO-HOST: Shawn Peters
Mentioned In This Episode
Christian Financial Advisors
Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
Bible Verses In This Episode
The Lord also instructed Moses, “This is the rule the Levites must follow: They must begin serving in the Tabernacle at the age of twenty-five, and they must retire at the age of fifty. After retirement they may assist their fellow Levites by serving as guards at the Tabernacle, but they may not officiate in the service. This is how you must assign duties to the Levites.”
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
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Think retirement is your ticket to permanent leisure. The Bible might disagree. Today we’re diving into what God really says about our golden years. Let’s get some perspective.
Welcome to another episode of Christian Financial Perspectives. So glad that you’ve joined us today. My name is Shawn Peters and I’m joined as always by my esteemed co-host and father-in-law, Bob Barber.
I’m glad you say esteemed. That makes me feel really good.
And if you enjoy content on financial topics, but from a Christian perspective, we’d love for you to hit that subscribe button and join our growing community of other Christians who want to glorify God in their finances. So today we have a topic on, “Is Retirement Biblical?” Now, before you click off or stop listening, I promise it’s going to be a good episode.
Yes, it’s going to be very good.
So please stick around, but we’re going to start with the scripture. First is Numbers 8:23-26, “The Lord also instructed Moses, ‘This is the rule the Levites must follow. They must begin serving in the tabernacle at the age of 25, and they must retire at the age of 50. After retirement, they may assist their fellow Levites by serving as guards at the tabernacle, but they may not officiate in the service. This is how you must assign duties to the Levites.'”
The Bible only speaks of retirement, Shawn, one time. This is the only passage in the entire Bible that speaks about retirement and it’s definitely not in the context of what we think of as retirement.
Not of what we typically think of retirement, especially in the, I guess you’d say the Western world.
Yeah. Yes. But I’ll tell you what, the Bible does speak of working in the importance of working over 500 times. I think it was 565 to be exact, but different versions.
So from my count Bob, we’ve got one mention of retirement
Over 500 or so talking about work and the importance of work.
It seems like the topic of work is a little bit more important. Okay.
Yeah. And not working, laziness and idle hands, are spoken of in a negative light in the Bible. Very much so. So work is seen as a blessing, not a curse.
Which does make sense. If you look back at the creation story, and…
It was before the fall
Before the fall of man, that work existed before sin. Sin just made certain aspects of work a lot more difficult.
The weeds. Yeah.
But work was always part of the plan. Yeah.
Yes. And work should be seen as a blessing, not a curse. I mean, you think about marketplace ministry and what happens in the workplace. There’s so much more ministry. Sunday is for an hour and a half, your small group is isolated to just believers most of the time and maybe 15 people. But in your workplace, you can truly be a witness to so many others. It is what I call marketplace ministry.
You are at work typically a lot of the day for most of us.
Yep, that’s right.
Okay. So work is God’s provision for you and your family even if it’s not what you dreamed of doing. So today, as we kind of mentioned earlier, we will be discussing if retirement is Biblical or I guess we could say, is the way we talk about retirement typically Biblical or is the American retirement Biblical?
I think that’s a good point is the American retirement, but then Europe is the same way. Okay.
This is America, Bob, we don’t need to talk about Europe.
We read in that scripture in Numbers 8:23-26. There’s just no other direction in scripture that would suggest we even should retire. But I want to point out, okay, very quickly right off in the front of this, as we’re doing this program today, that retirement is not sinful.
Right? That’s not what we’re saying.
Yeah, not at all. But for a Christian it should be viewed from a Biblical worldview, not a secular one, as the pagans do. We don’t want to negate the design of God’s design on retirement because we were created to work and help others with our resources. You just mentioned the scripture.
I just mentioned it, right? Genesis 2:15, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Now for those of you who aren’t remembering exactly where that fits in scripture, again, this is before sin entered into the world.
And it says very specifically that God put man in the garden to work it and take care of it.
So American retirement, the way we look at it in many ways, Shawn, it has normalized something that was never intended by God and that is not working.
Right or not working at all.
Yeah, not working at all. Now there’s nothing, I want to say this. There’s nothing wrong with a good game of golf. Alright? You know we have a second home on a golf course.
And he keeps trying to get me to play. I don’t like to play.
You got kind of excited last time you came down there.
I got a little, but my hands started hurting. I’m not used to it.
I’ll tell you. Shawn went to the driving range with me and he was knocking those balls. Just Shawn’s an old athlete.
Well, as they say in golf, Bob, it’s all about power, not finesse, right?
I guess so. But there’s nothing wrong with golf. There’s nothing wrong with fishing or hanging out on the beach, but that’s not what retirement is supposed to be about. And if it does become about that and you become consumed with that, it can lead to depression and a lack of significance.
And a shortened lifespan.
So I want to give you some examples of what I’ve seen being and living on a golf course. I’ve watched these older gentlemen that are retired, it becomes consuming to them and it becomes, they get the competitive side of them because they’re no longer working in the workplace and we’re on hole number 15 in Rockport. We’re right at the end of it. We look right out on it and I watched them throw their golf clubs, hit the ground with it. I listened to them cursing and I’m thinking, is this really fun now?
Yeah, it’s a game.
What has happened to this? Something has gone wrong in retirement with these good men, and they’re nice men. I mean, I hang out in the club with them and I sit around in the bar and have a glass of iced tea. They know I’m not the drinker, and I become friends with them and try to tell ’em about Christ because that’s truly what it’s about. But I think we need to look at retirement from a scriptural basis truly and from a Christian worldview, and I’ve picked this scripture, I’m going to have you read that we can reach in and say, alright, if I’m going to retire because I have the financial resources to do so, how could I apply this scripture to retirement? Alright, you ready?
So Matthew 25:31-40, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him and he’ll separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come you who are blessed by my father, take your inheritance the Kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The king will reply. ‘Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”
How could you take this scripture, this scripture right here and apply it to retirement?
Well, one of the things that I know we have been talking to clients about with this that are nearing retirement is retiring from your career that you’ve needed to build assets, plan for retirement, and pay the bills. You’re retiring from that and moving into what is it God is calling you to do now with feeding the hungry, helping the sick, visiting those in prison, sharing Christ. If you’ve planned properly, that doesn’t mean you don’t play the occasional round of golf like you were saying.
Absoluterly. Absolutely. Hey, I love golf.
But we do know that from avoiding depression, from having purpose, from living a longer life, people who only focus on having fun and doing things just for themselves, they don’t last as long.
No, they don’t.
But those who have a mission and a purpose will be more fulfilled. They will live longer. And it’s Biblical because now you aren’t being constricted by, well I have to work to be able to survive. But you’re focusing on, okay, well this is a passion that God has given me. Just like when we talk about with the priest in the first scripture, the older priests retire from the normal day-to-day active duties and they’re basically moving into a support, mentoring…
They become a mentor and they become a teacher to the younger priests.
So they’re still continuing that on. It’s much in the same way that maybe something you could do is, depending on what your career was, but maybe you were a leader in your field by the time you retired and now you volunteer your time. You come in as basically a consultant.
This is the point that I wanted to get to is that a Biblical retirement, this is what it looks like. Retirement for Christians should mean free time to devote to serving others without the necessity of getting paid for it. It is truly a time to rethink how you invest your time and resources. And instead of quitting from life and moving to Florida, Arizona, or Texas and playing golf every day, waiting for the, waiting for the first piece of mail to arrive, instead be diligent to save and willing to serve. And if we adopt this mindset and devote those last years or decades, for some, of our lives of serving others, then the Lord will find us doing his work if he returns and when he returns.
When he returns. That’s right.
So should you put together a plan for retirement from a Biblical sense?
Absolutely, you should.
I think that’s the key point here is that we’re not saying that you shouldn’t be saving and investing and preparing for retirement. If anything, we’re just trying to call to your attention that there’s more to this life than just having fun when you retire. And if you’ve done that planning right, we’ll go into that.
So I got these nine points we got to get through. Okay. All right. And we’re just going to list these.
Sorry, Bob, I’m just getting excited.
Okay. I know you do. That’s all right, Shawn. 1) So financially and spiritually preparing for retirement is wise. You go to number two.
2) Knowing and understanding your annual financial need and how it will be funded.
Yeah, you got to know that.
Because you are still going to have to eat and live somewhere.
That’s exactly right. 3) Will you need to downsize your home or sell it all together when you retire or rent. And why did I say that? Maybe you need to rent. So if God calls you to go into the ministry, which he just did, I saw a couple just last week in our megachurch here in town come up and they were in their sixties and they sold everything and they’re going into the mission field. And I think that is awesome. I was so excited to see that.
They’re self funded to do the ministry God’s calling them to do.
Exactly. But there are things that you need to think about during retirement, 4) Will you need to work to supplement those essential needs. And here’s a big one. This is one I don’t see.
5) Have you written down your retirement goals according to God’s plan?
Right. Put that before the Lord and written ’em down in a spiral notebook or anything, but write ’em down. Write ’em down. 6) Have you earnestly prayed about what God wants you to do during retirement and sought His Word, the Bible for the answers, or even should you retire at all? God’s called me. I prayed about it big time, and God’s called me not to retire. He’s called me to continue to work.
And in all full transparency, we will make it personal here. I know Bob has no intentions of ever “retiring, retiring”, but I do know that over time the plan might be that Bob can let go of a couple things and the rest of the staff we kind of share the load and move forward. But I mean, if you’ve ever known Bob, you would know that he doesn’t really sit around anyway. So God’s definitely called him to continue doing stuff.
I’m also a good delegator. I don’t mind delegating. So I want to challenge you if you’re retired or you’re about to retire, to do this, write down your retirement goals according to God’s plan, not your own, but according to God’s plan. Write down how you want to spend those days. 7) Do it in two to three hour slots and say, this is how I’m going to spend my day. 8) Write down the charities that you want to volunteer your time at during those retirement years. And 9) How can you be a mentor to help others?
That’s right. Just like the retired priest.
Exactly. So we end with the question that we started at, “Is retirement Biblical?” You know what it can be if it’s not all about you and serving you, not serving yourself, but serving others and helping to build the Kingdom of God. We want to help you do that.
And in retirement, think of it this way, there’s only two things you can do. You can either build the kingdom of self or you can build the kingdom of God.
You’re always saying that.
Well, I love that.
Yep. That’s right.
I didn’t come up with it. We heard it from somebody else.
Tell somebody how to get ahold of us if they would like to talk more about this.
If you want to talk more, if you want to get some help on this or if you have ideas for future episodes, you can visit our website www.christianfinancialadvisors.com. Send us a message. You can also call and or text us during business hours Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Texas time. And that is (830) 609-6986. Thank you. And as always, God bless and see you next time.
* Investment advisory services offered through Christian Investment Advisors Inc dba Christian Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor registered with the SEC. Registration as an investment advisor does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Comments from today’s show are for informational purposes only and not to be considered investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any company that may have been mentioned or discussed. The opinions expressed are solely those of the hosts, Bob Barber and Shawn Peters, and their guests. Bob and Shawn do not provide tax advice and encourage you to seek guidance from a tax professional. While Christian Financial Advisors believes the information to be accurate and reliable, we do not claim or have responsibility for its completeness, accuracy, or reliability.