by Ryan Anderson
One of my clients at work has reached that mystical point of life the American Dream is centered around: he is about to retire. He has been preparing diligently for this moment for twenty five years. He has saved and intentionally lived below his means in order to become financially free. He could easily live out the second act of the American Dream, retire to a golf course, sip lemonade on the back porch, and live the good life for the next thirty years.
This type of retirement is the one dreamed of by millions of Americans and is the one we’re told we deserve by countless marketing campaigns.
But my client has something different in mind. He is at the top of his game, has years of acquired wisdom to pass on, and an energetic mind and spirit; why would he run to the sidelines now?
Years ago, he sought and found the purpose God had in mind for him, and it wasn’t his day job. God gave him a passion to build homes for single moms and he has oriented his retirement plan around fulfilling that passion.
He saved well not only so he can sustain his family’s needs in retirement, but also so they would be able to fund new building projects after his income goes away. Equally as important, he has developed this passion over the years by taking time off work to travel around the world building houses. He could have ignored that passion and focused all his efforts at work to climb the ladder faster or to make more money. If he had gone down that road, he may have been able to retire a few years earlier. But the question is, would he have the same passion and purpose in retirement? Would he still have a specific vision for how to expand the kingdom after his years bringing in a paycheck are over?
Watching this man prepare for retirement has inspired me to spend time and energy finding and developing my kingdom calling now. When the day comes for me to step away from my vocation, I want to have prepared well so I can step into the passions and purposes God has been cultivating in my heart along the way. I want my usefulness to the kingdom and the world to keep increasing after I retire.
I am also inspired to work now to be financially free, so I can fully pursue what God has planned for me when this current season of life is over. I don’t want to be bound by money or give it the power to keep me from pursuing the purpose God reveals in my life.
Being inspired to do these things is great, but what does it look like to practically pursue those two inspirations? I don’t have the silver bullet, but to identify and develop my kingdom calling, I am focusing on the following questions, courtesy of Bob Shank in his book Life Mastery:
● What unique gifts, resources, and talents do I have?
● How do I work best with others? What environments am I most effective in?
● What am I most passionate about? If I could change any single thing in the world through investing my life in the cause, what would it be?
To become financially free, I am trying to stick to the principles we see in the Bible. They may seem simplistic, but they are becoming extremely countercultural:
● Spend less than I earn
● Keep cash on hand for emergencies
● Pay off all debt
● Diversify my assets
● Give generously
Our lives are for God’s glory and the advance of his kingdom – that calling doesn’t end when we walk away from our jobs at 65. We have the incredible gift of being able to pursue our calling until the very end. Let’s do all we can now to prepare for that transition into the second part of God’s plan for our lives.