“Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord,” says the words of Leviticus. When it comes to retirement, it’s likely that most people will have more spare time – and money – than ever before. People are retired for longer than ever – but no matter what stage of retirement you’re at, you’re never too old to devote this new-found spare time to Jesus. Many older Americans are already religious, and there’s a 17% spike in religious affiliation among older people compared to those under 40. It’s not uncommon for churches and other religious establishments to be heavily populated by older people. But there’s still plenty for those in retirement to do to devote their time to God: helping in the community is one such way, while studying the Bible is another.
Partly, opportunities for religious exploration as a senior are due to demographic trends. Retirement now is longer than it ever has been before: the average life expectancy in the US is now around 80, and many people are not called to Heaven until they are in their nineties – meaning that some spend almost as much time retired as they do in work. Also, there are some that can leave their career early, as they’ve accumulated enough savings to enjoy early retirement. But what’s a useful, and holy, way to spend all of that new-found free time? The option many people choose is Bible study. As you may already know, it’s one of the best ways to fall deeper in love with God’s word, and learn more about His creation. And one very interesting detail about studying the Bible during the golden years is the ability to understand it from an angle that you couldn’t have been able to in a younger age. In other words, with all your past experiences, you get to analyze the scripture with a new perspective, filled with seasoned wisdom that you didn’t have in your 20s and 30s.
Work in the community
For those who are either already conversant with the Bible or who feel that their vocation is something a little more practical, meanwhile, spending your new-found spare retirement time on helping your community is also a sensible choice. “And let us not grow weary of doing good,” says Galatians – and working in the community during retirement is a great way to achieve this end. You may want to volunteer to lead some groups in your church, or perhaps to become a reader at services. If you have specific skills such as fundraising or the law, you may find that you’re in high demand as a practitioner – and that church could be a good way to stay in touch with your workplace skills.
“Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone,” read the words of Deuteronomy 34:7. Retirement may seem like a long way off to you, or perhaps it’s right around the corner as it is for an increasing number of Americans. But no matter what retirement looks like to you, one thing’s for sure: using it to follow in Moses’ path and for holy purposes is a good idea, and it’s one that will stand you in good stead as you move from this life to the next.