19 April 2022
Christians have been encouraged to think about how they can best use their retirement to serve God.
Retirement consultant Paul Arnott said Christians should be asking God how he wanted them to spend the fourth quarter of their lives.
Mr. Arnott is the executive director of Q4 – Rethinking Retirement, a ministry of the not-for-profit charity Christian Ministry Advancement, which offers an online course aimed at helping Christians deal with the challenges of retirement.
Mr. Arnott said it offered advice that was at odds with what the retirement industry would have you believe.
“What tends to happen is that people drink the Kool-Aid of the retirement industry which essentially is, ‘It’s about you – you deserve it’,” Mr Arnott said.
“But when you look at the Scriptures, you look at what Jesus said – that isn’t really consistent with being a follower of Christ.”
Mr Arnott said Jesus said in the gospels to lay down your life, to put others first, and to put God first in your life. So, he said, God wanted people to enjoy their retirement – but Christian work should also be a priority.
He said the course devoted a whole week to how retirees could invest the spare time they found themselves with, and encouraging them to think about it before they hit retirement.
Mr. Arnott said people did everything from mentoring children, to helping at programs such as Mainly Music, or as “Grey Nomads” seeking to connect with others heading north for the winter.
He said there was a real risk of anxiety and depression when people retired and didn’t fill their time, particularly among men.
“Men in particular can really struggle with the transition from work to retirement. They’ve been so busy in their careers and then it all suddenly stops,” Mr Arnott said.
He said unfortunately the Bible said little directly about retirement, as it was written in a time when people generally worked until they died.
“Retirement as we practice it is really only a couple hundred years old. It’s a relatively new invention,” Mr Arnott said.
“There’s only one reference to retirement in the whole Bible – and that’s Numbers 8 and it’s where the Levites, the priests, are told at the age of 50 to give up doing all the heavy lifting. Let the younger priests do the heavy lifting and basically mentor them.”
Mr Arnott said the course also covered other issues that were important for retirement, such as forgiveness and reconciliation, grief, knowing God and creating a legacy.
He said forgiveness and reconciliation were particularly important, as the retirement period was a chance to fix relationships, forgive others and make amends.
It will also aim to deal with the grief people experience – not only grief related to death, but also grief related to the loss of the identity linked with a career.
The next Zoom courses begin Monday 2 May and Wednesday 4 May.