What happens when you think you’re done, but God says, ‘Not so fast?’

Our time on earth often passes by in a series of cycles as we go from one phase to the next. Yet, many of us reach a point where we think we’ve either put in our time or can’t go any further. There are flaws in both mindsets.

There are many stories of people who thought they had either reached the pinnacle of life and were ready to slow down, or who thought they had screwed things up so badly they could never be of use to God or anyone else again. But, God had other plans.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” When you read through the list of activities mentioned in Ecclesiastes 3:2-8, there is one thing you’ll find missing — rest.

While the Bible tells us that rest is important, and God demands that we treat one day a week as a Sabbath in order to rest from all work, there is never an instance where people were handed a certificate, thrown a party and ushered into anything resembling retirement as we know it today.

There is always more for us to do. It may not require maintaining a 9-5 schedule and commuting into a workplace, but God insists that we remain active, productive, contributing members of society by using our skills, talent and resources to make the world around us a better place.

Slow down, but don’t stop

In the parable of the rich fool found in Luke 12:15-21, Jesus had some choice words for people who want to retire.

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

I suspect people who think they can sit back and simply enjoy life while shutting out the world around them will likely endure a host of maladies that will sap the joy out of their experience. Loneliness, medical problems, incessant financial expenditures, are just some of the things that may prevent them from simply taking life easy, eating, drinking and being merry all day long.

We all get to the age that we can not operate at the same peak energy levels we did even a few years earlier. It’s a rare day that I don’t need a mid-afternoon nap to make it to my 9 p.m. bedtime. It’s pathetic.

Slowing down is fine, but there is no way God ever expects people to stop being productive contributors to the world.

No, you have not blown it

There are others who had grand plans for a life where they could make significant contributions. Yet, through self-inflicted problems or schemes of the enemy, they’ve had their dreams dashed time and time again. Even those folks can stand on God’s promise that he’s not done using them.

In Philippians 1:6, apostle Paul wrote, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

If God gave you a dream or a desire that lines up with Biblical principles in that it is not selfish or sinful, then rest assured, he will make a way for it to be accomplished.

Remember what God did for Abraham and Sarah. They were both well past child-bearing age, but desired a son. The Bible said Abraham was “as good as dead” when Isaac arrived. At our age, not many people want children to raise, but the story is one about God fulfilling his promises.

I don’t know what vision God gave you, but you can count on this regardless of your age:

  • When you delight in the Lord, he will give you the desires of your heart because your heart aligns with his. God is certainly powerful enough to do whatever he wants by himself, but he almost exclusively works through real people to accomplish his mission.
  • God always funds his assignments. If he gave you a vision, and it requires resources, he will provide those resources one way or another to help you accomplish whatever he told you to do.
  • Jesus used a ragtag band of misfits that nobody would have ever considered important or meaningful, called them disciples, and gave each of them assignments that changed the world.

I loved this article written by Pastor Steven Lee at the North Church in Mounds View, Minn. Titled “God will use even you,” he reiterates why would should never feel as though you cannot be of use to God or anyone else.

“God is utterly unimpressed by my résumé. God scoffs at any attempt by me or you to prove our worthiness. Our accomplishments do not justify our existence. Our accolades cannot merit us any greatness,” Steven wrote. “God is unimpressed by our collection of readers, likes, retweets, friends, connections, or admirers.

“If your résumé is sparse, your intellect feeble, your skills unimpressive, and your wisdom just average, fret not. God can use even you — even me. God uses pathetic people for his glorious purposes to show his superior power. Do not begrudge your weakness. Do not lament your insufficiency,” he added.

Trust me, there is something important for you to do, right now, today.

If you need help figuring out what that is, I’d enjoy having a conversation with you — on me! You can get in touch with me on the Forward From 50 website or in our Facebook group.