I remember the posters well, sprawled throughout the building where I work. ‘Retirement party planned for John Phillips … please contact … for more information.’ John would be retiring soon. He had served the company for 27 years.
John was like you or me, longing for that day when he could retire, so that he could spend more time with his family, and do those things that he longed to do, but simply couldn’t, while working. John was, simply put, a human being.
Perhaps you are like John. Retirement age is approaching, and you are looking forward to being able to spend time doing those things that you really have not been able to do while working. Well, that is a good thing, but I think you should also consider this:
A year after John retired, he was involved in a small plane crash, which suddenly took his life, and the life of his 15-year old grandson, Daniel Phillips. Unexpectedly, at the drop of a hat, as it were, all that John ever hoped during his retirement years was completely and irrevocably taken away from him.
I do not know where John is today (in heaven or in hell), but I do wish to take this opportunity to share with you the story of the rich foolish man, who spent years of his life building better barns, and storing his grain, and getting richer and richer. He had no thought of tomorrow, and, suddenly, in a similar fashion to John’s, I suppose, his life was taken away from him. The Bible story goes like this:
‘And he [Jesus] spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater, and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.’ (Luke 12:16-21)
You may be approaching retirement age, or, like John’s grandson who also died in that crash, you may feel like you are just ‘starting out’ in life. No matter what your age, and especially if you are at the age where you are able to understand these things, and make a rational decision on them, the question really remains, are you living your life for God, or, like the ‘rich foolish man’, are you living your life only for yourself? And, where will you go when you die? (This really is the question.)
Retirement is one thing. Preparing for eternal retirement is quite another. I can only hope (for I do not know for sure) that John himself was prepared to meet his Maker inasmuch as he had given his life over to the Lord and Savior of his life, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of his sins, and was truly living for him at the time of his sudden and very tragic death.
Many people are missing John today, and that is a sad thing. What would be even sadder would be, having lived one’s life, and having known about these things and having had the chance to make a decision for Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, not to have decided to accept Christ, truly, as Lord and Savior, Lover and Eternal Redeemer, of your soul.
Today, he beckons you, and indeed, the whole world, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matthew 11:28-30)
I encourage you today, to put your hope in Christ.