If you have been to the beach, you have seen shells that have washed up on shore. I love to collect them even though I don’t need any more. They’re free, and who can resist “free?” Most shells are empty of life when we find them on the beach. And once we get past the catching up with things we couldn’t get done when we were working, and we have done all the traveling our budget can handle, and we have visited all the kids and grandkids numerous times we start to feel a little washed up ourselves. It feels like life crawled out of us and it’s not a good feeling.
Here’s What Jesus Did!
We don’t know much about Jesus life before his ministry started. We know he liked to hang out with Teachers of the Law and discuss theology. He must have done some miracles at home because when he attended a wedding with his mother, and there was a problem she turned to Jesus to make a difference and told the servants with confidence to do whatever he says, and a ministry was launched.
So before Jesus’ ministry was launched, he must have done a lot of the mundane, stuff not really noteworthy. He was a kid and did kid things. He was the first born son. Since nothing is mentioned of Joseph at the wedding feast or after the incident at Jesus’ Father’s house, historians, believe Joseph died while Jesus was still young. As a firstborn son, Jesus would have been responsible to support his mother and younger siblings. He no doubt took over Joseph’s carpentry business. He played, he learned, and he worked. All essential parts of life, but not noteworthy. Even Paul’s life before his ministry has a few notable events.
Jesus’ life was cut short because His mission needed to be accomplished in God’s timing. But here’s something to think about.
Here’s What We Should Do
Like Jesus, we have responsibilities in life we need to accomplish. We live busy lives and feel needed as we work, raise a family, and save for retirement. We feel like we have a purpose, and we are needed. We played, we learned, and we accepted the responsibilities required to make a life. Much of our experience was mundane and not really noteworthy, but vital to us. Now all that is over. We are not sure we could hold down a job, our kids don’t want our advice, our grandkids are uninterested in our experiences. Are we washed up? Is there no life in us?
I think we can take a lesson from Jesus. When he was not as needed in his former responsibilities, he started a ministry. Of course, Jesus had a pretty big purpose for being here on earth, but we have a purpose too. The beautiful thing about retirement is we have more time to serve others. With age comes perspective, and we realize we don’t need “stuff” to be happy. Some people actually want our mentoring, and we have time to listen and encourage others because we know “this too shall pass.”
I cleaned out my closets and drawers and donated things to a women’s shelter. Win/Win! I joined a group at church that prays for a missionary, and I offered her and her family our lakehouse for a week of relaxation while we went on vacation. I have a ministry to the homeless and to women who have unplanned pregnancies and desire to keep their babies. Hospitals sometimes need someone to hold babies. Daycares need men to be involved in meaningful ways for kids who don’t have a regular father figure. There are so many ways to get involved in helping others.
The more we are others focused, the happier we are. Gardening is fun, hobbies are great, but when our hobbies and gardening help others, they become ministries. Something as simple and enjoyable as lunch with a widow or coffee with a single mom gives us a sense of purpose. Sometimes people just want to be seen and acknowledged. You might be surprised how meaningful your smile or handshake might be to someone who feels forgotten by society.
If you are retirement age, you probably remember this adage, “today is the first day of the rest of your life!” And so it is! What will you do with the rest of your life? Whose soul will you touch with your kindness? What difference will you make in someone else’s life and your own?
Praise God for new beginnings and that we have purposes to accomplish in life! WWJD!