After 45 years in the workforce, it was time to change gears. I had always heard about the “Golden Years” of retirement, so why not enjoy them while I can. And that’s exactly what I did. I made a long list of projects that needed to be done around the house. I even created a “Bucket List” to start as soon as my retirement party was over. I finished every project on my list in the first six months! “Now whatcha’ gonna’ do?” I asked myself as I looked at my aging face and body in the mirror. A year later I came to a startling conclusion. I had put myself out to pasture and I was useless! Even my wife got bored and irritated with me. “You’re driving me crazy!” she scolded, “Why don’t you just go back to work again?!”
They never prepared me for this in seminary! I just boldly forged through life completely oblivious to the stark reality that ONE DAY my youth would be gone and I might be out of work! After 30 years of dedicated and faithful ministry as an associate pastor in a large local church, the unthinkable happened. The Senior Pastor fell into a horrific moral failure! Within a few weeks, it had become a public scandal that shook the church to its core. After a painfully long drawn-out publicized lawsuit, the people scattered and the church was on the verge of bankruptcy and total collapse. So there I was…62 years old…no church retirement funds… reputation stained by association…and looking for work! Who would hire me with that kind of resume?
The Bible never speaks of people being obsolete or useless. “Things” become obsolete, but not people (Luke 12:33; Heb. 1:11; 8:13). The idea of “retirement” (withdrawal from active working life) never existed until the late 1800s and Social Security wasn’t established until 1935. When God created humankind, He put them in the Garden to “WORK and care for it.” (Gen. 2:15). Obviously, the ravages of sin cause the body to deteriorate with age, but until we are physically or mentally unable to work, fulfilling endeavors are essential. But look what happens to the aging person who trusts in God: “They will still bear fruit in old age; they will stay fresh and green” (Ps. 92:12-15). “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you” (Is. 46:4). Now, read how an encounter with God can “Reinvent” you in the season of your later years.
Retirement sounded so good when I was strapping on carpenter tools and working 40-50 hours a week in construction. But now, retirement was just plain boring! I felt lifeless. Even going to church seemed mundane…until our pastor began a series on the Great Commission: “Go and Make Disciples of all Nations.” He said the Lord had awakened him in the night to reach the nations. He announced he would send ministry teams to preach the Gospel, bring medical assistance and build churches. Then he looked straight at me and said, “God is calling some of YOU to use your construction skills to build homes and churches for the work of the Lord.” My heart leaped and I felt chills go up my body. For the first time ever, I sensed God’s divine call. My life’s purpose had been “Reinvented” by Christ. I would spend the rest of my years working for His cause!
As my wife and I walked out the doors of the church for the last time, we glanced back at what “used to be.” It was over! Our hearts wept for the dear saints whose faith had been shaken by those tragic events. As we drove away, tears gathered in our eyes knowing our lives would never be the same. What would become of us and our ministry? Then in a flash, I sensed the energy of God stir within me. Yes, that local church was dead…but God’s Church in the world wasn’t! And neither were the calling and gifts He had placed on our lives. In the midst of defeat, I sensed a New Season of God dawning upon us. We weren’t finished…we had just begun! And now, in the “freedom” of this new season, God would cause us to become even more than we were before. And that, my dear friends, is how “Destiny Navigators” came into being. We had been given a new vision and a new life. That’s when we realized God had “Reinvented” us and our ministry!