I have carefully read Scripture and cannot find the word Retirement. I find Scripture related to balance, rest, regeneration, and pacing one’s self, but nowhere is retirement used.
At our recent 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration I looked out upon the audience of friends and family and couldn’t find one person our age or older who wasn’t retired. I believe when we retire from our worldly jobs we have opportunity to serve and glorify our Lord with the time, talents, experience, and gifts He has given us. And many of our friends attending the event are doing just that.
As I thought about the blessings God has given our family and ministry during the past three and a half decades, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness to another group almost 3,500 years ago. Under the leadership of Moses, God had directed the Israelites to endure many hardships during their 40 years in the desert. He regularly allowed opportunities for His chosen to prove their obedience and faith through the testing of their courage and commitment.
And like Moses, at times, we get tired in the flesh and weak of heart. The travel and challenges of meeting with so many congregations, lay leaders, and pastors can be exhausting. But the most demanding experiences come from the battles we fight in winning souls for His Kingdom.
The Apostle Paul was right; we are in a spiritual battle that requires preparation and perseverance, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”. Ephesians 6
We regularly ask God “What shall we do about these attacks?” The answer is the same given to Moses.
“So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “What shall I do to this people? A little more and they will stone me.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pass before the people and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”
God wants His chosen to lead others into the battle. He will prepare us and provide the resources necessary to be successful. Our responsibility is obedience to His calling. Continuing on with the story:
“He (Moses) named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not?” Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed.
But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner; and he said, “The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.” – Exodus 17:1-16
Figuratively speaking with my loving wife, family, and ministry partners who are holding up my right arm and supporters like you holding up my left arm – our ministry will continue to wage war on a sinful world. And as long as I have the power of the Holy Spirit, the health, and the encouragement we will see positives things happen to those impacted by our ministry.
Remember, that when you’re in the battle you will feel fatigue. But God has placed people like Aaron and Hur into our lives in order to uphold us during those troubled times.
To God be the victories and glory!
When we are weak that is exactly when God is our strength. What is it you are facing? How can others help you in your battles? Are you seeking a Christian community (bond of brothers) to assist you in your battles? Each day think about starting your morning off with reading Ephesus 6. Put on your spiritual armor for battle.