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Retirement With a Purpose

with | February 4, 2011

Looking for something to do after your retire? Today author Kay Strom offers some exciting ideas for those who want to reinvent retirement for God’s glory.

Looking for something to do after your retire? Today author Kay Strom offers some exciting ideas for those who want to reinvent retirement for God’s glory.

Retirement With a Purpose

With
|
February 04, 2011
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Bob:  For many people the dreams and desires of adolescence and young adulthood eventually meet up with the realities of marriage and parenting, providing for and raising a family.  We can come to a point in life where we look back and think, “Did I really invest my life the way I had hoped to?”  Here’s Kay Marshall Strom.

Kay:  So many people get to this point in their life and they think, “Okay. I’ve earned money.  I’ve paid the bills.  I’ve put my kids through school, but what have I done of real significance?  That’s the recalibration – to use those skills that they prepared for.  Now is payoff time.  Now I’m going to use them.

Bob:  This is FamilyLifeToday for Friday, February 4th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine.  Have you started making plans yet for how you will invest your life during payoff time?  We’ll talk about that today. 

And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us.  You know, I’m just doing the calculations here.  You’ve got to be getting kind of close to retirement age, aren’t you?  I mean, you’re getting –

Dennis:  Would you define the word “retirement?”

Bob:  Well, there’s kind of a general –

Dennis:  Are you wanting to take over?  I’m kind of wondering what’s going on here.

Bob:  There’s kind of –

Dennis:  Oh, no!  They’re at the door!  I’m out of here.

Bob:  Everybody’s always – Isn’t 65 when you’re supposed to get your gold watch and head home.

Dennis:  Well, that used to be.  I mean, given the energy, the vision and frankly, where I am, looking at the needs of marriages and families, I hate to sound rash here, but I don’t think I’ll ever retire in the true, classic sense of that word.

Bob:  It’s interesting you mention that, because I was thinking of a couple I know, both of them in their 80s, and I was talking to them about the fact that you get into your 80s and you do start to slow down a little bit.  Your body doesn’t work the way it used to and your energy is not quite what it was. I said, “So, what do you guys do?”  They said, “We’ve got the coolest thing we do.  We’ve got an intercessory prayer ministry that we do together as a couple.”  They said, “For years we talked about how we wished we had more time to pray for stuff.”  They said, “Now we’ve got the time.  We get up.  We’ve got our list.  We go to work and we just pray for folks who we’ve never been able to pray for before.”

Dennis:  That’s the exact kind of vision for life that the Christian community needs to embrace, proclaim and promote.  I mean, we shouldn’t see a bunch of Christians rusting out at the end of their lives; they need to wear out as they run to the finish line.  We have a guest with us on our broadcast today –

Bob:  -- who wants to wear them out, right?

Dennis:  She does.  Kay Marshall Strom joins us again on FamilyLife Today.  Kay, welcome back.

Kay:  Thank you so much.

Dennis:  You know, we’ve already talked about how you want to bake a carrot cake –

Bob:  To dangle the carrot cake –

Dennis:  --to dangle the carrot cake out there to motivate people to invest their lives.  That’s why you’ve written this book, The Second-Half Adventure.  You speak on this all over the country.  In fact, you mentioned to me right before we came in here that you’re having people come up, they’re coming up to you and they’re going, “You know, that’s me that you wrote about in there.  There is a place for me.”  Is that a question people have today?  They wonder if there is a place for them.

Kay:  It’s a question they have, and many times they aren’t asking.  They don’t know to ask it.  But when an answer is offered them, they say, “Yes.  That’s what I want.  That’s exactly what I want.” 

One of the couples that I talked to that decided to sell their business, go into ministry, they built into their plan one year with an RV to travel around the country, visit friends, visit family, relax and vacation, for one year.  And they said, “That was too long.  It was too long for us, and too long for our friends.”

(laughter)

Dennis:  You know, even the word “retirement” comes from the word “retire,” that’s a military term.  And it actually meant, I believe, to step back from the battle lines for a period of time, as you were talking about, Bob, to kind of regain perspective and strength, but then engage back into the battle.  What’s happened in America because of our me-ism in this culture, our narcissism, is unfortunately it’s infected the church, so that people in the church think that somehow just because they work for 45 or 50 years or so, now they deserve time off, time out, and they can somehow slide to the finish line.

Bob:  Well, and think about it.  The word “retire” we often use in a more casual sense meaning “I’m going up and going to sleep.”  And Kay, you already mentioned the fact that retirement in an earlier era was kind of preparing to die.  But what you’re saying is, in our generation today, you recalibrate, you don’t retire.  And you don’t go off and prepare to die, you keep pouring out.

Kay:  That’s right, and the thing is, our first half is really preparation – our job, our experiences are getting us primed to do what is really going to be of significance, once we’re freed up to do it.  That’s what the second half can be for many people.  Some people, a few people like you, are doing right now what is of real significance, but the majority of people don’t feel that way.  They are bringing in a paycheck. 

So that’s why so many people get to this point in their life and they think, “Okay, I’ve earned money.  I’ve paid the bills.  I’ve put my kids through school.  But what have I done of real significance?  So that’s the recalibration – to use those skills that they’ve prepared for.  Now is payoff time.  Now I’m going to use them for real value.

Dennis:  I just want to say something that I know you agree with, Kay.  Those people that are earning a paycheck, raising a family, doing the eight-to-five, just the duty of raising the next generation of children – there is nothing more significant than doing that and doing that well.

Kay:  That’s right.

Dennis:  Fulfilling your covenant, your promise to your spouse, and also teaching your children about Jesus Christ and making a handoff of the spiritual baton, to know how to handle life in their generation.

Kay:  Absolutely.

Dennis:  But we are talking about a time in people’s lives when they do have more time to engage in activities.  What I want to encourage people to do is to take a step back and think about Ephesians chapter two, verse ten, which says “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” 

The question is, “What are God’s good works for you?  What does he have for you to do even as you’re busy raising the next generation?”

Bob:  That’s a question that I think a lot of people will look at their life and, like you said, they go, “Okay, I worked at a factory,” or “I worked at an office for all these years.  I’ve no idea.  How do I know, how do I determine what’s the thing I should be investing in?”  So somebody comes to you and says, “Kay, I’ve worked in an office for 25 years.  I’ve got some time now, but all I’m good at is working in an office.  What do I do?”

Kay:  That’s a good question, and most often people come and say, “There’s nothing of significance I can do because I only know how to work in an office.”  It was interesting because I was at a mission conference and there was a panel of recruiters from different mission groups. 

One woman raised her hand.  She said, “I hate to even waste your time, because I don’t think there’s anything that I’m able to do because I’m a substitute teacher.”  She said, “I teach everything from Spanish to music,” and she said, “I’m sure that you really can’t use me any, but I just thought I would say, ‘I would like to . . .’” Everybody pounced on her.  “What? What? What?  You can do all those things!  We could use you, we could use you.”  She said, “But I’m not real great at anything.  I just know a little bit.”  They said, “You don’t know how great it would be to have somebody as flexible and able to do an assortment of things as you.”  She had no idea how valuable her skills were. 

So, the thing that I would like to suggest:  In doing this book I worked with an organization called Finisher’s Project.  I guess a good way to describe Finisher’s Project is they are sort of like eHarmony.com for missions.  They have developed a program where an individual can put in their own skills, interests, and so forth, and different organizations have put in their needs, and it matches them up.  And you’d be surprised. 

I went ahead and filled in what I had, and I was an elementary school teacher by training, I’m a writer, -- I came out with 45 different possibilities, and they were all over the world, some in my back yard, some on the other side of the world.  Very interesting, the opportunities that are there.

Finisher’s Project has more than 20,000 job possibilities waiting for people.  There is everything from bricklayers to bakers to homemakers to physicians to anything you can imagine.

Bob:  Of course you know what Dennis is going to say:  “You don’t need to go there.  Just come to FamilyLifeToday.com and we’ll get you hooked up right away.”  You can skip the middle man, right?

Kay:  And that’s a very good possibility.

Dennis:  Well not everybody is going to be passionate about marriage and family issues, and addressing what’s happening in the family today in this culture.  But some people are going to be passionate about that, and that’s one of the things you talk about, is determining “What am I passionate about?”  If you pound the table about marriage and family, then yes, Bob –

Bob:  Come to FamilyLifeToday.com.

Dennis:  That’s right, and we’ll show you –

Bob:  Uncle Dennis wants you.  We need a poster of you with the hat and the whole thing – Uncle Dennis wants you.

(laughter)

Dennis:  No, we don’t want that, but we do want to deploy --  In fact, I have a prayer goal and a vision of one million men and women, not necessarily joining an organization or joining anything, but who are just deployed in making a difference in marriages and families here in America and around the world by volunteering, by starting to lead a HomeBuilders Bible study, by doing eMentoring, which is an online mentoring training package that FamilyLife has, by doing The Art of Marriage video conference, a conference, Bob, that you created that can be hosted by a couple and brought to a community by them. 

The point is, and back to what you talk about in your book, Kay, find out what you’re passionate about and then match that passion with an organization that knows how to serve you and put the tools in your hands and the resources that you can use to make a difference.

Kay:  Yes, and the thing is, it also is important to know where your skills fit in.  Some of your skills will fit in in places that you have no idea how they would ever be.  Like you say, this sort of a situation where we’re talking about marriages and families is so vital; not only in this country but around the world it’s so vital.  And sometimes our adventure goal – this is another important thing to know, what our goal is.  Is it evangelistic?  Is it family?  Is it humanitarian?  Because this will help us decide exactly what we want to do and where we want to go.

Bob:  I was interested as I looked through your book at how many of the illustrations and examples that you used in the book had people getting on an airplane and going over a big body of water somewhere.  This is a burden on your own heart, to give us a global focus for the work of Christ, isn’t it?

Kay:  Well it is, Bob.  It is.  We all have our passions, as Dennis was saying, and mine is to emphasize the importance of the global Body of Christ.  That is not at all to diminish working at home, because there are many, many things we need to do at home, and more people are going to find their passion and their work at home.

Bob:  I was thinking about folks who were going to say, “Well, I’d be interested in what you’re talking about, but I don’t want to move to Africa or China or to Asia.  We’ve got grandkids here.  We want to stay close.”  And they don’t necessarily have to move to those countries in order to get engaged.

Kay:  No.  No, and even a lot of the illustrations that I used of people who do go to those places go for a short time.  They only go for a couple of months, or six months.  They don’t move there.  But, you’re right.  I do have a heart for pulling the global Body of Christ together and finding our part in it.  I even listen with that perspective when I’m hearing what you’re saying, because I’m thinking, “Oh, what you’re offering is so valuable on a global scene.”  So we do listen with our own ears.

Dennis:  You know, family is an international language.

Kay:  Of course.

Dennis:  I’ve been saying that for 20 years.  We have the opportunity around needs of marriage and family globally to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and explain to people who want to have healthy marriages and families who it is that truly does build homes.

Kay:  That’s right.

Dennis:  I was on an airplane the other day coming back home and I sat down next to a guy and he said, “What do you do?”  Actually it wasn’t the guy I was sitting next to who asked me, it was the flight attendant.  I said, “Well, I work for the world’s largest homebuilder.”  They said, “Who might that be?”  I said, “Well, I believe it was God that made marriage and family, and in Psalm 127:1 it says, ‘Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.’” 

And the flight attendant had just gotten married ten days ago, and so I had a chance to talk to her about the spiritual dimension of the marriage relationship, her relationship with God, and I offered to scholarship her to the Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway. 

Well the thing is, every person listening to this broadcast is interacting with people all day long at work, in the neighborhood, with their kids, going to events around raising children today, where they’re talking to people who have needs around their marriage and family. 

And I think, Kay, the Christian community has really wanted to do this.  I think they’ve longed to get on the battlefield; they just need the carrot cake, as you’ve talked about, to invite them onto the field, but then a little training and a little help and some practical tools where they can do ministry, and then get out of their way, because they’ll take it to a whole new level.

Kay:  And, not only do they do that, but they come back and say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for showing me the path.  Thank you for holding that carrot cake out in front of me, because when I saw how sweet it was, then I was ready to move.  It was the scariness that caused me to wait, wait, wait.”  But it’s not.  It doesn’t have to be so scary.  There are ways to move forward, like you’re saying, get the training.  Evaluate what you have to bring to the table as far as tools and abilities and training, and what you can and are willing to do.  Do you want to go to another country?  Do you want to stay here?  Do you want to major on family and marriage?  Is your heart in evangelism?  Where is God calling you?

Bob:  Is there ice cream with the carrot cake?  I’m just wondering.

Kay:  Well, sometimes there is, and sometimes there’s a little bitterness with it.

Dennis:  Yeah, no kidding.  We haven’t talked much about that, but in any kind of ministry as you roll up your sleeves and get involved in people’s lives –

Kay:  Yes.

Dennis:  -- there is a sacrifice.  I think one of the problems, honestly, about Christianity in America is our faith hasn’t cost us much.

Kay:  That’s right.

Dennis:  Now there are some listening who say, “Hold on, Dennis.  I’m holding my hand up here.  It’s cost me plenty at work or in the neighborhood or with maybe some of our kids’ friends’ parents.”  Our faith can cost us something, but I think for far too many they’ve not taken steps of faith that put them out there in a battlefield attempting to make a difference in people’s lives. 

Really, if you think about what Christ commanded us in Matthew 28, he said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” and he has a very short word, “Go.”  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 

Christ commanded us to go, and he promised he’d be with us.  We won’t have all the answers, we won’t know how to always fix every problem we face as we encounter other people and seek to minister to them, but he’s with us, and he’ll guide us in the process.

Kay, I just want to say thanks to you for your heart for world missions, and your desire to connect these second-half folks, people who are looking at the rest of their lives and looking for a challenge, looking for an adventure, something that they can do that has eternal significance.  I’m grateful that you’ve written this book and I hope that it will be used by God to move several tens of thousands of folks onto the battlefield.

Kay:  Thank you.

Bob:  You know, as I’ve been reflecting on what you wrote, Kay, I’ve been thinking about the church I’m a part of.  One of the things we keep saying to one another is that everybody – we should be able to walk up to anybody and say, “Who’s pouring into your life?” and you should have an answer.  You should be able to say, “Here’s what’s pouring into me.”

And then we should be able to say,

Dennis:  I was hoping the second question would come.

Bob:  “Who are you pouring into?”

Dennis:  There you go.

Bob:  And you should be able to answer that just as quickly.  It’s always a “get poured into, pour back out” – that’s what we’re here for, and that’s what you’re pointing people to in your book, The Second-Half Adventure.  You’ve got to be pouring out into other people’s lives. 

I was thinking, too, about this idea of engaging in missions.  There may be some folks listening who, for whatever reason, can’t pick up and go, but Dennis, we heard a great story just recently from somebody who connected through our eMentoring, our online mentoring program.  They got trained to do some online mentoring, and they live in Asia.  A mentor request came in in a language we didn’t know what it was, and we used Google Translate, and it turned out that the language was Afrikaans from South Africa.  So what we’ve got going on is somebody living in Asia mentoring somebody who lives in South Africa in an hour or two a week through e-mail, through a program we’ve put together, this eMentoring program. 

And if folks are interested in finding out how you could connect and invest a few hours of your week that way, go to FamilyLifeToday.com, click on the link there for eMentoring that explains the whole process – how you can get trained, how you can become a mentor.  You may think, “Well, I couldn’t be a mentor.”  We’ll get you set up; it’s easier than you think. 

Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click on the eMentoring link, get a copy of Kay’s book, The Second-Half Adventure.  There are other resources we have available there that talk about how you can invest in the second half of life.  Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com.  If it’s easier to call to request the book, call 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800 “F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word “TODAY.”  We’ll make arrangements to send Kay’s book out to you.

Now we are a little more than a week away from Valentine’s Day.  Love is in the air, and a lot of folks are lined up to go to our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways that kick off next weekend and then continue throughout the spring.   We’ve got a lot of folks who have signed up to attend one of The Art of Marriage video events that are going to be hosted in hundreds of locations all around the country next weekend and continuing throughout the spring.  You can find out more about the Weekend to Remember Marriage Getaways or about The Art of Marriage video events when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com. 

We’re committed here at FamilyLife to trying to provide you with very practical and yet very biblical resources to help you strengthen every aspect of your marriage relationship.  With that in mind, we have a four-CD bundle that we are making available this month to folks who can help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation.  We are listener-supported; your donations are what keep us on the air on this station or on any of our stations all across the country. 

If you’re able to help with a donation this month, we’d love to send you the four-CD bundle that features a message from Dennis called “Romance in the Rain: How to Keep the Sparks Going When the Weather Is Soggy,” and then three CDs where we have conversation with Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus around their book, Intimate Issues: 21 Questions Women Ask Most Often About Intimacy and Romance in Marriage.  Those CDs are our thank you gift this month when you support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation. 

If you make your donation online at FamilyLifeToday.com, you can type the word “ROMANCE” into the key code box on the online donation form, and we will be sure to send you the CDs.  If you make your donation by phone, just ask for the romance CDs when you do and we’ll send those out to you.  Again, we want to say thanks for your partnership with us and your support of the ministry.  We really do appreciate you.

And we hope you have a great weekend.  We hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and we hope you can join us back on Monday.

Dr. Akin:   When you look at what the Bible has to say about marriage and family, and when you look at what the Song of Solomon says, commitment is evident all the way through.

Bob:  Dr. Danny Akin is going to be our guest.  He is the President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and he’s the author of a book called God on Sex.  We’re going to talk Monday about what the Bible has to say about how we ought to view this important subject in marriage.  We’ll have a candid and yet appropriate conversation on the subject, and I hope you can join us.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  Have a great weekend.  We will see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. 

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