Retirement as we know it today is a fairly modern concept. The only specific biblical guidance we have comes from Numbers 8, where God tells the Levite priests that they cannot work in the Tabernacle after the age of 50 (but the retired priests are instructed to counsel the younger Levite priests).
Although the Bible doesn't provide much specific instruction on retirement, it does provide enduring wisdom that we can apply. We put together this list of 7 verses to give you some biblical perspective on the notion of retirement.
It’s wise to save for retirement
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
It’s prudent to count the cost and plan for retirement
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?
Our work is not finished in retirement
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
God has big plans for us, even in our retirement years
When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.”
We can have tremendous impact during our retirement years
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.
We’re called to be generous with the resources entrusted to our care
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
1 Timothy 6:17-19
We should consider our legacy
A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.
To sum up these 7 verses: it's wise to save and plan for retirement; work for the Lord, even in retirement; be generous; and consider your legacy. Hopefully, these verses provide some clarity and peace of mind as you think about retirement.
Ben Malick, CFA, CKA
PS - If you're reading this post and haven't been through our 8-lesson email course on retirement, you can sign up here. The course applies biblical concepts to retirement planning and gives you practical tools that you can use to prepare for retirement.