Not An Option :: By Holly Spate

When it comes to living as a Christian, we are called to carry out God’s commands as we venture through this life. But, one thing we’re never called to as we journey is a season of retirement. As long as we have breath, as long as we’re here, we’re called to live out our lives as fully as possible…no excuses.

Our heavenly Father expects us to keep going, to keep persevering, to keep utilizing our gifts and talents. He wants us to continue being a blessing, to consistently speak words of encouragement, and to help those less fortunate. He desires us to keep opening His Word, applying His truths, and seeking His ways. And we’re to continue all these things until we breathe our last breath on this fallen, broken earth.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 says, “And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is right.”

The word “never” means NEVER!

I’m not a Bible scholar, but I’ve never read a verse in the scriptures or heard a sermon which gave permission to stop being an effective witness for Christ. We’re not called to invest a portion of our lives serving Him, and then hunker down, get cozy and retire. We’re not given permission to simply sit back, do our own thing, and become ineffective because we’ve reached a certain age or don’t feel we have the gusto to keep going. God expects each of us to stay tuned into Him and to actively be about our Father’s business.

We’re called to serve, to keep going and to be effective regardless of our health, our circumstances, or our place in life. Retirement in the spiritual sense is simply not an option for those in God’s army. We act because we’re called to act. We use the blessings of our resources because those blessings reach far and wide and are used for the good of others and for God’s glory. We never give up, give in, or stop being used in the service of loving and giving to others.

We each experience different seasons in our lives, and God has blessed each of us with various talents and gifts that can be shared with others. The reality is that God has a special plan and purpose for each of us. We just have to choose to be willing participants and to be available.

There may be some reading this today who are experiencing health problems or who are  physically unable to leave their homes and minister to others, yet God can still use their lives to be a blessing right where they are. If they are able to give financially to further the kingdom, they can give from the comfort of their home, sending to organizations that are meeting the physical and spiritual needs of those hurting and in need of the Savior’s hope and love.

God still calls them to be prayer warriors and to take time to bow their heads each day and grow closer in their relationship with Him. James 5:16 reminds us of the power that comes from praying: “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Even with physical limitations, one can make a positive impact and be a powerful prayer warrior for those who are out on the mission field.

Others viewing this may be young and physically able to rush out into the world with intense energy and share the good news face-to-face. They may be able to go on mission trips or volunteer their time at their local church. Others may be so financially blessed and successful in business that they’re able to fund big projects that could potentially touch many, many lives for the good of the Kingdom.

No matter what season you may find yourself in, God simply asks each of us, no matter what’s going on in our lives, to be willing participants…instruments available for use to further God’s kingdom. He always desires us to be open to giving, to serving, to blessing…right where we are…right in the middle of our circumstances.

It’s not about physical or financial limitations; it’s about being available for service and answering the call. Remember what Jesus said in Luke 21:3-4? He said, “Truly I tell you…this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

In other words, God saw her willing heart and her desire to serve and be effective despite the season she was in. She acted out of obedience and love. God calls us to do the same. He wants each of us to have a heartfelt cry that says, “God, I’m available. Please show me what to do. Accomplish your will through my life…right here, right now, as I am.” It’s about keeping our hearts open to His will in our lives and persevering till the last breath is taken. It’s a command, not an option.

John 14:15 drives the point home: “If you love me, keep my commands.”

May we, as Christians, never sit back and “retire” from the call on our lives, but instead keep persevering till He calls us home.

Let these additional verses stir your heart to be God’s continual instrument today and every day after:

Hebrews 6:11 “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.”

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Hebrews 10:36 “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

Romans 2:7 “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.”

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Romans 15:5 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.”