Too Busy to Number My Days

Ed, my neighbor next door, is in full force out at his farm working hard and long. The busier he is, the more critical he becomes of seniors like me. He calls me “one of the lucky ducks who just paddles around the pond and gets fat and lazy.” I told Ed that I’ll remind him of his words when he is retired. Ed claims that he will not be retiring for ten years and that by then I’ll be dead and gone.

“Maybe I should make a bucket list. You know, a list of all the things I would like to do before my life’s end,” I said to Ed. “What would you put on a bucket list for yourself?” I asked Ed.

After a long objection, Ed came up with the first three things on his bucket list. First, Ed would go fishing along the Yukon River in the summer with a guide. Second, he would take a donkey ride down into Death Valley and back up. Third, he would open a Swiss or Caribbean bank account that was tax free. I think Ed would have continued, but he had to answer his cell phone and take off to get a part for his machinery.

One thing about retirement ─ a person does have the opportunity to consider what is most important for them to do and consider. When younger, the tasks of raising a family, working and paying a mortgage may leave people focused on daily life. The older one becomes, the less the end of life is miles down the road.

No matter how you slice it, once you approach seventy, the countdown is on towards eternity. Seventy is a marker for the span of life in the Bible, but it is only an indication that one has had a full allotment of life. Many folks do live long past seventy. They enjoy lots of overtime, even up to a hundred years, and a few beyond that milestone.

The Bible promises a glorious eternity for those who have faith in God. Earthly death leads to being with God forever. Being in heaven with God is pictured this way, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Retirement is a good teacher in that it puts life into God’s perspective. Our jobs and our accomplishments become empty containers. Once we did this or that, once we bustled about only to leave it behind. Ed gets irritated when I tell him that he cannot take his farm to heaven. His life work on his farm will go to someone else. It may seem that there is no end to our things to do, but our lives are like a breath. In retirement, some folks face the truth that life is fleeting and they have a limited number to their days. It gives them time to put their hope in God and look forward in joy to being with Him forever.


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