“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life…” John 6:27a; NASB
There is an important question that I believe every person should ask themselves. It is a question that, if taken seriously, can affect every decision you make after answering it. It is “what is the purpose of my life?” Other questions that might follow would be “why am I here, and where am I going?” Philosophers and self-proclaimed intellectuals have debated these questions since the beginning of time. They are questions that arise throughout the lives of many. God gave us the answer thousands of years ago.
In America, we have become familiar with the term “The American Dream.” People from around the world fantasize about moving to the U.S. to have a chance of living it. The dream differs slightly depending on who you ask, but it goes like this. You choose a career or a path for making a living, work hard for many years, then retire. Then, with all you have accumulated, you go on to a leisurely life of doing all the fun things you didn’t get to do because you were working. There are many who have attained this dream. There are many more who have struggled all their lives trying to attain it only to fall short. Either way, scripture does not consider retirement a life option except in one very special circumstance.
There is only one mention of retirement in the entire Bible. It is pertaining to the Levites and their work in the tent of meeting. From age twenty-five, they were to “enter to perform service in the work of the tent of meeting. But at the age of fifty years they shall retire from service in the work and not work anymore” (Num. 8:24b-25). After that, they could help their brothers but were not supposed to work. As far as anyone else is concerned, there is no mention of retirement. I am not suggesting we are supposed to work at the same job until we die of old age. It also does not suggest that we should not save our money and prepare for a time when we no longer work. I believe it tells us something about the purpose of our work.
We have one main purpose in our lives. To glorify God in all we do. Everything we do should stem from that purpose. It does not mean working in full-time ministry or even giving all our spare time to church functions. It should be our way of life from the day we receive salvation until the day we go home to be with Him. We work to provide food, clothing, and shelter for ourselves and our families. If you are a believer, that should not be the main purpose of your life. As we go through life, we should pray for and take advantage of opportunities to bless others with our help. That help can take many forms. For some, it will be in the financial realm. For most, however, it is in using the gifts God has given you to enrich others, especially those less fortunate than you.
Once you are saved by the grace of God through Jesus Christ, your life is never the same. As long as there is a breath left in your body, you will worship God through Jesus Christ in any way you can. We have received a wonderful gift that gives us the privilege of loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves (see Mk. 12:30-31). It is a life’s work that never ends, and it is beautiful.
God bless and have a great week