DON’T WASTE YOUR RETIREMENT

It’s late in my 8th decade and the frame is a bit bent, the grinders are all store-bought, the windows are dim and bifocal (Ecclesiastes 12:3) and the ears are more odd ornaments than utility.  The heart cranks with the life-prolonging support of wire mesh and recycled cow parts,–and breath by breath Amazing Grace—but I can still drag myself along at a better clip than a geriatric grasshopper (12:5). The neurons in the brain travel at decidedly subsonic speeds, but I can still absorb The Word and words and scenery and marvel at God’s creation and His marvelous grace.

I spend a big part of my time reading, beginning in God’s Word daily before dawn, alone with the Lord of life and glory. My routine rarely varies, but some days the Scriptures come so alive—‘…the wind blows where it wishes…’ (John 3:8). I follow that with associated works by the theological titans of the Christian faith, a great cloud of puritan witnesses, and a handful of contemporary preachers and theologians. After the Bible, the greatest book I’ve ever read is usually the last one. Among them, the Letters of John Newton (Amazing Grace) stands out. Transformative!

In second through tenth place among my preferred reading categories is historical nonfiction, especially biography. My favorite authors are Eric Metaxas and David McCullough (2 Pulitzers and 2 National Book Awards)—the two greatest contemporary wordsmiths on the planet, in my view.

I have read and highly recommend three of Metaxas’ books 1.) Bonhoeffer, 2.) Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce…, and 3.) Martin Luther. It’s a three-way tie for which is best. I intend to read and be edified by the rest of his large body of work.

With McCullough I recommend starting with 1776 (If you don’t believe in miracles, you will when you’ve read this book.), then John Adams, Truman, The Wright Brothers, and Mornings on Horseback (Teddy Roosevelt). Without the author ever stating the obvious, the lives of these great men showcase the sovereignty of a gracious God in the affairs of men. McCullough has a vast portfolio of other works I am working through, and he can describe grass growing in a scintillating way. I’m hopeful that some of the literary genius of all the authors I read will get reflected in my scribbling.  

Retirement is a wonderful opportunity to focus and expand your knowledge on the most important things in life, of which you cannot know too much, and prepare for the life to come, “…before the dust returns to the earth as it was and the spirit returns to God who gave it” (Eccl 12:7). So ancient friend, in this Alzheimer’s era, why not engage the brain while you still can, kick the social media addiction and excessive napping and give serious reading a try?

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). And that path “…leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Romans 6:22).

See you in church.

                                                                                               

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