On Retirees and
Pictured at the left: Evie and Phil Dunham
retirement years a very special time indeed
I had heard that retirement was dangerous. People
actually die while in retirement. I had heard that the time for
making a contribution ended at retirement. I had heard that it was
an "out of the loop" time, an "on the shelf time",
a "Ho, hum...what'll I do next?" time. And I want to tell
you that our retirement has been "none of the above."
Yours doesn't have to be either. It is your call.
Now, admittedly, I will grant that a retired
pastor has a range of possibilities for activities and service which
quite a few others might not have. But let me hasten to add that
there are pastors as well who do not choose to remain active in
service and volunteering opportunities. There are also those who
permit themselves to indulge in self-pity that "they are no
longer valued as they deserve to be". But I believe, once again,
that this is their call...their choice, because there is a whole
range of opportunities for fun, service, witnessing, helping, etc.,
to make your retirement years a very special time indeed.
Evie and I retired at 62. We had given 40 years
of denominational service at that time. Some had the temerity to
politely and mildly chastize us for withdrawing from active ministry
at such a "young" age. I was prepared. I dropped Numbers
8:25 on them. Speaking of the priests in the sanctuary service the
Lord Himself said, "and at the age of fifty years they must
cease performing this work, and shall work no more". Then I
would hasten to add that we had given a full measure of service
by even rendering twelve years beyond what the Lord suggested for
priestly retirement. I suppose I should feel some measure of sorrow
that I actually enjoyed, (yea, delighted ) in sharing this text
with my well-intentioned members and friends.
And all of a sudden, it has been twelve years
since we retired. These years have been lovely, special, challenging,
interesting, fulfilling, and satisfying. We have never had a second
thought about "retiring early." I have been interim pastor
of eleven churches during this time. (Four of them had to be in
Hawaii). It has been a pleasure to serve over and over again in
local church Sabbath speaking appointments, campmeetings, conference
ministerial meetings, revival meetings, special retreat settings,
and special Conference assignments. The Lord helped me to write
a book, Blinded By The Light which was published by the Review
and Herald publishing house.
Besides these lovely privileges, Evie and I have
had opportunities for trips, more time with our precious family
members, and often with more relaxed daily schedules. (Although,
Evie might wish for more of the latter). And all of this with less
pressure, because in retirement you only do what you choose to do
and not what you have to do. This is so much fun that I feel guilty
some times. (But only for a few nanoseconds of time).
As I prepare these thoughts, I will be conducting
prayer meetings this fall at our home church in E. Salem and teaching
a pastor's class for new believers and those studying to become
members. And, looming on the horizon in January 0f 2003 is a trip
to India for nearly a month where I will be doing some of the speaking
in evangelistic meetings in Nellore. How boring can things get?
Retirement time is a special time. A time to
do some things you have "always wanted to do". A time
to "smell the flowers". More time with your precious companion
A time to "ripen up" for heaven. God
is so good!
Now if all of this seems like a drag... then
you just go out there and enjoy that 8:00 to 5:00 workaday stuff
until you are 105. Evie and I will be wishing you well... and enjoying
Phil & Evie Dunham - Retired Oregon Conference
Pastor currently residing in Oregon. They raised two children, a
son and a daughter, and have nine grandchildren.