The Retirement Reformation Manifesto (part 10)

Principle #10:  Advocacy

We resolve to encourage others to find meaning and purpose following God’s design.

Our conviction leads us to shine God’s light on each of our paths pointing to lives filled with meaning and purpose. Our passion and convictions lead us to encourage all to live lives filled with meaning and purpose. Each of us, including all Pastors, ministry leaders and Jesus followers are called to this Retirement Reformation. A new opportunity exists to change the world for Jesus, bear fruit in His name, and experience abundant life in Him.

Here is an important idea: We must be clear about what we should avoid, we must be clear about what we embrace, and we must be clear about what we promote, or advocate.  

It’s not enough to be against something. It may be even more important what we are for, why we are for it, and how we advocate for it.  As people of faith, and those of us who have longevity on our resume, we can look back and see the many evils that have existed in our world. In our times, how we respond to growing spiritual challenges from our culture is a relevant question for Christians in America.  As we become increasingly marginalized, how will we respond? What will we avoid? What will we embrace? And what will we publicly promote? In the alternative, what will we ignore? What will we deny? and what will we teach our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren about following Jesus in an alien culture?

Advocacy comes in many forms and all forms are important.

There is help available. Help comes in many forms. It comes from those mature Christians who are well along in their spiritual journey. Those who have been through some version of the “fire” and discovered how they are going to both survive and thrive.

In John 14:16-17 Jesus says:

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept because it neither sees now knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.” 

The Greek word paraklton has multiple meanings. It can be translated counselor, comforter, helper or advocate. While I tend to think of the Holy Spirit primarily as a counselor, those other meanings, including Advocate, are important. Realizing that there is an evil one working against our well-being and relationship with Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit is indeed advocating for our best interest and “protecting us from evil.”

The Advocate as comforter is another important role. We are not alone during the hard times, times of depression, times of struggle, and times when fear begins to grip us. The advocate plays a key role in pointing us back to Jesus. 

As Jesus and the Holy Spirit are strong resources for us, we are to be advocates for others as well. Those same characteristics of comforter, helper, intercessor, defender of the poor and weak, teacher and one who assists us to live the life Jesus challenged us to lead. We learn from experience. When we experience the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled and encouraged to represent Jesus to others in the same way he lived and taught.  

When meaning and purpose are missing, life becomes a challenge. When we find our meaning and our purpose, the one God has planned for us, we discover renewed energy and live with passion. When we live with passion, work becomes a source of joy, rather than a sweat-stained, energy draining effort.

As a part of the Retirement Reformation, each of us can change the way we think and understand our role in building God’s Kingdom. With our new understanding, we are encouraged and we have a key role to encourage others.

There are millions of dormant retired Christians or Christians about to enter the void of nothingness - what our culture knows as retirement. Our revived voices need to be heard as we journey from starting point to tipping point. The tipping point when Christians will realize a new day of service, commitment and experience more of the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. Then in the book of James, he adds more: Pure in heart, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, showing mercy and bearing good fruit, impartial and sincere, peacemakers raising a harvest of righteousness.

What an astounding result available to us when we turn our lives towards Jesus and our actions towards advocacy. Everyone needs the opportunity to serve and experience the results. God has a plan for each of our lives, listen for the call and act on the direction He whispers in our ear and imprints on our understanding. 

That plan, those directions, and the resulting experience do not stop at any age or life stage. Being faithful for a lifetime brings the best of the best. Love each other, advocate for each other and by that love, they will know of our faith. Others will be encouraged and join with us in the Retirement Reformation.

Go to: RetirementReformation.org to review the Manifesto, sign, and join if you agree. Download a copy for your reference and acquire the Retirement Reformation book or one written by any one of our Retirement Reformation Roundtable members.

Bruce Bruinsma