Retired Christians, Retired Missionaries – Oxymorons

Among the people I admire most in this world are the “retired” missionaries in our church. Each of them support my contention that retirement is not a biblical concept, not that I or they object to a transition from a career of earning to a more relaxed period of time in the older years, but that our calling as followers and servants of Jesus does not have an expiration date.  There are no retired Christians who have any concept of their calling in Jesus.

Bob and Barbara Newman served in literature work along with much teaching, counseling and encouragement in Chile, Costa Rica and Spain for 43 years until retiring in 1995 to their roots in Indianapolis.  But retirement has not been an end to ministry over the past fifteen years, but an ongoing ministry, often to Spanish speaking people that God has brought across their paths.

Russ and Phyllis Irwin served for 39 years in Pakistan, Phyllis focusing on medical work as a doctor and Russ as a pastor/teacher/evangelist. They too retired in 1995 to the Indianapolis area, but like Bob and Barbara, have continued unabated in ministry as God brings people from the area and the Urdu language where they served.

Russ and Phyllis have also become authors in their “retirement.”  Russ just recently published The Peanut Butter Man, the life story of Qureshi, who became a follower of Jesus Christ, through many tribulations, but with great impact in leading many others to trust the Savior.  Previous to Russ’s book, Phyllis wrote Dr. Memsaab, detailing the fascinating challenges and opportunities of being a physician in Pakistani Muslim culture. Both of these wonderful books are available at the Irwin’s website, The Good News Unlimited.

If you are planning for retirement, why not talk to Bob and Barbara or Russ and Phyllis or dozens of other seniors in our church who don’t plan to enter the eternal kingdom having lived only for themselves in the last chapter of their lives, but continuing to walk with and serve their Lord and Master, Jesus. 

For further encouragement, a must read for people of all ages is Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, available at www.Desiringgod.org

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