What Goes in Comes Out
Whatever is in the pitcher is what is poured out. It’s that simple – and that significant.
Growing older or retirement is not a reason to quit doing what I can do. The age of one’s body naturally slows us down as it is – but that’s no reason to spend our days piddling around doing nothing. Unless, of course, you need one of those days of doing nothing. (Sometimes we need those days so we can become refreshed and replenish our souls.)
When our pitcher is empty, it’s time to refill. That’s so we can pour out again – filling the lives of others. The purpose of replenishing our souls is to enable us to fill someone else’s – not so we can sit idly by while others are lonely, hurting, and needing a friend.
Being Poured Out
Years ago, I thought when retirement came, I’d sit back, kick up my feet, and relax. Yet when I check this out with scripture, I find that sentiment is not biblical. Nor does it fulfill the command in scripture to proclaim the gospel and nurture disciples in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the world.
I’d rather die from being poured out than from shriveling up. Paul, the apostle who wrote much of the New Testament, sent a letter to Timothy, his young prodigy. He realized his time of death was not too far away (less than two years). Paul wrote about this to the Philippians. He also penned these words in a letter to Timothy: For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Called to be Poured Out
You know what hits me in these verses? The man who took the Gospel to the Gentiles; who endured persecution, beatings, imprisonment, and shipwreck calls his life one of being poured out as a drink offering.
When someone is thirsty, all he wants is a cool, refreshing glass of water. To quench the thirst, there must be water poured out. There must be a drink offering.
That’s what we are called to do – not just on Sunday or when we’re not busy. We are filled with the goodness of God and poured out to quench thirst. Scripture tells us that since we have the gift of Jesus Christ, we need to share it with our world. There’s nothing in scripture that encourages us to make that extra dollar or pass an earthly inheritance on to our kids. In a world that is empty and searching and longing, I have no business looking only after Me, Myself, and Mine.
Well into retirement years, my friend offered to babysit children so their parents could go away for a weekend. Her peers scolded her; they told her it was too much for her at her age. She replied, “I want to do all I can to help marriages today. I want to be poured out in Kingdom Work until there is nothing left when I meet my Maker.”
Like my friend, I want to be poured out and completely spent for the Master. Shriveling up is not for me.
What to do When There is Nothing Left to Give
Granted, there are times when physical limitations prohibit us from doing, doing, doing. But we can spend time praying. When we lose stamina and agility, mowing the neighbor’s lawn might not be possible, but we can encourage them in their spiritual journey. We can pray. There are many who have few friends or family and need us to build relationships with them. We can pray. Did I mention that the church – and all of us – need your prayers?!
In our world and in our churches where illness, financial stress, family conflicts, and discord abound, we can pray. I’d cherish knowing there is someone older in my community who takes my needs and concerns to the Throne every single day.
The fact that our bodies are getting older and we, by necessity, take longer to do what we used to do in half the time is no excuse for becoming shriveled. There is one thing we always can do. We can encourage, and we can pray. This is how I plan to Get Ready, Get Set, and Go! for retirement.