The Retirement Reformation Manifesto (part 9)

Principle #9:  Service

We live on mission for Jesus, representing Him to others.

 

God calls each of us to be on a mission during every stage of life. An important role for those in retirement is to pass on wisdom learned and encourage the next generation. Coaching, mentoring, volunteering and grand-parenting are valuable opportunities available to us.

Service to the kingdom and for the Kingdom means we’ve made a serious decision to follow Jesus and the work we do to reflect Him to the world is what we call Service.

The idea and practical application of service are illustrated in many ways. First, we say we are in service to the king. Our men and women in the military are in the service to our country. Our politicians talk about serving the public. We start each game of tennis with a serve.

On a mission for Jesus means we actively represent Him in all we do. This service requires faith, perseverance, endurance and the ongoing application of God’s wisdom during all kinds of difficult or challenging circumstances.

In a recent Gospel Coalition document, I read this, “Nobody slouches into faithfulness. They do it on purpose! Nobody falls into faithful service, it is a decision back by a grateful response to what Jesus did for us.”

There are additional motivations resulting in service. A true desire to help and make things better and to provide a path forward in response to human need and tragedy.

There is the story of a young woman who suffered at the hands of rebels in the Central African Republic. Forced to be a child soldier, she was rescued by a humanitarian organization and provided a pathway to a new life. Starting school at age 14, when asked what she wanted to be and so she answered, “I want to be a computer specialist, work for the organization who rescued me, and payback for what they have given me.”

That real-life story could be a parable teaching us what it means to “payback” the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit for what they have done for each of us. But first we have to listen, then be grateful, and serve others using the skills and talents we’ve been given to steward.

Service is a response to the stewardship command expressed by loving others in ways that use the time, talent and treasure entrusted to us.

There is also some urgency to the commitment to service we embrace. Another quote addresses this, “We should not squander our time but instead, steward it. We can’t presume upon time, living as though we or others have an infinite amount left. We don’t.”

On the other hand, behold the lilies of the field. There is certain contentment that comes with being on mission. When you are prepared for your tasks, work becomes a stimulant not just tiring. When you are passionate about your tasks, they bring both newfound energy and a new kind of joy. The joy of a “service” well done.

Service also takes place outside of ourselves. If we are only self-serving, our joy will not be complete. The service we do outside of ourselves provides meaning and has a focus or purpose.

Service is a result, not a cause. When we have our “whys” and heart in order, we will and we must take action. That action is the service and being on-mission brings satisfaction.

When our thoughts, feelings, and actions are on-mission or in-line with God’s plan for our life, our life will reflect who He is through our service. In James 3;16-17 we have a list of the fruits of salvation: “Pure in heart, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, showing mercy and bearing good fruit, impartial, sincere, and peace-making raising a harvest of righteousness.” A pretty good tradeoff for services rendered to the King.

So, how do we pass on our experience, the wisdom that comes from dedicated service to a younger generation? Part of the answer comes through modeling and storytelling. When we share the results of service for those we serve and let them see how it positively impacts us, we know part of the answer. When we see examples of Christian service or being that good neighbor even in a movie or tv series, we point it out and shed our light about it.

What we do often speak so loudly that what we say isn’t even heard. On the other hand, being able to hold up examples coming from others; a story, a movie, a play or a newscast, speaks to the heart and mind of our children and grandchildren. Too often we are afraid or just not willing to speak into a key issue of life like the value and necessity for serving others.

We are to be on mission for the same length of time we are to be faithful. We are to be faithful for a lifetime and on mission during all of it. We are never too old to serve, even if it means simply sharing our joy with others

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