How often do we think in terms of needing various things to be happy or content? However, God is what we need, and things are simply what we use. Many people think retirement will bring contentment. But far too many become lonely and depressed, and this is because they retire from something rather than to something. Without a career, they feel their lives have no meaning. And because they have no sense of calling to their present season of life, they begin to miss the job or the office or their lunch buddies. They even miss having deadlines because these provided goals and a sense of purpose. Thus, they long for the “good old days!” A wife said to her retired husband, “What are you planning to do today?” He replied, “Nothing.” She said, “But you did that yesterday.” He said, “I know, but I’m not finished yet.” Perhaps this is why someone commented that a husband’s retirement can become a wife’s full-time job!
The apostle Paul says, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:12). He knew that those things people expect to bring them contentment do not. But he could rejoice in what God gave him, knowing that God is good and, therefore, that which He sends is good. So, regardless of the season of life in which we find ourselves, true contentment can be a reality. If we walk with God in His Word and remain connected to our calling from Him, we will have the capacity for immense joy and fulfillment.
Os Guinness (English author and social critic) has written that, “it’s important to recognize that we can retire from our jobs, but we can never retire from our calling. Calling gives us our sense of task or responsibility, right up to the last day we spend on earth when we will go to meet the Caller.” How true. And this does away with the idea that we are over the hill when we reach a certain age.
I read of a man in his mid-90s who for the last 20 years or so has given a great answer when people ask him if he is retired. He says, “Yes, I retire every night to go to bed so that I can get up the next morning to find out what God has for me to do.” That is living on the basis of calling!
Want to know how rich you really are? Add up everything you have that money cannot buy and death cannot take away. If you can identify with what Paul says in Romans 8:17 about believers being “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” then you are rich, indeed.
In having God, we have everything, for He is our inheritance. All the things we have on this earth will be left to others.
Thus, God Himself is the secret to true contentment.