Considering retirement? Put God first.
When we put God first in our lives, we can faithfully trust that God will guide and provide as we make any transition.
For most of my life I figured that retirement was something I wouldn’t experience. Gloomy prognostications over the years about the economy and annual inflation weren’t reassuring. However, as conditions at my workplace slowly changed, and as I considered the number of years I had been employed, it seemed time to at least open my thought to the possibility.
As a student of Christian Science, when faced with a challenge, I turn to God in prayer. I begin by affirming my true relation to the one, divine Father as God’s spiritual likeness. I set aside commonly held beliefs about man (everyone) as limited and material—beliefs that define us as the opposite of how God created us.
As we choose a higher, spiritual view, thought becomes more inspired and receptive to unlimited possibilities. I began to think more spiritually about my own identity as that which continually reflects God, Spirit, instead of contemplating the fears and limitations that might accompany a lifestyle change from employed to retired. I focused on the abundance of God’s, infinite Love’s, provision for His children. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy assures us, “Each successive stage of experience unfolds new views of divine goodness and love” (p. 66 ).
Seeking God’s righteousness, I found a higher, more selfless motive.
While pondering my finances, I reflected on Christ Jesus’ parable of the rich man with “much goods,” who decides to pull down his barns to build bigger ones, and then to “eat, drink, and be merry” (see Luke 12:16–24 ). However, God says to the man, “This night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” Jesus then cautions, “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Afterward he instructs his disciples to “consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?”
From reminiscences written by those who had the privilege of knowing and working with Mrs. Eddy, I get a sense of her as always active. At the heart of her activity was an unfailing trust in God for daily guidance. She writes in Science and Health, “The purpose and motive to live aright can be gained now. . . . Working and praying with true motives, your Father will open the way” (p. 326 ).
This helped me contemplate my motive for leaving my job. While I still loved the work, I found my enthusiasm diminishing. I began to seriously question whether it was still the environment I wanted to work in. Recent changes had brought in many younger workers, and I began to wonder if I had worn out my welcome. However, I had no desire to either leave behind any enmity or carry it away with me. It was important to me that I lay to rest any challenges I had been struggling with.
Through prayer I stopped dwelling on the issues at work and began appreciating all that this company and job had provided me over the years as well as all I had brought to it. Seeking God’s righteousness, I found a higher, more selfless motive, trusting God to bless and benefit all involved.
I found that this change, instead of conjuring up consternation and fear, provided a refreshing opportunity for study, prayer, and greater reliance on God. Angst and preconceived notions gave way to clarity, confidence, and conviction in making this decision, and I knew I could continue to rely on God for right activity as I moved forward.
When faced with problems of any kind, we can find inspiration and comfort in these words from Science and Health: “Trials are proofs of God’s care” (p. 66 ). And the Bible directs us in the book of Proverbs to “trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (3:5, 6 ).
In the four years since retiring, I have been able to meet every challenge, large and small, by relying on God through my study and practice of Christian Science. Those “new views of divine goodness and love” continue to unfold. Illnesses have been overcome, boredom cast out, purposeful activity found, and sufficient supply demonstrated.
When we put God first in our lives, we can faithfully trust that God will guide and provide as we make any transition. And as we go about our daily business, from the most active and demanding to the seemingly mundane, we can follow the Apostle Paul’s admonition to “rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks” (I Thessalonians 5:16–18 ).