What’s your plan for your life after you hit 65 or 70? Do you anticipate finally being able to relax, live off your 401k and play golf all day long? In my 20s, I’d never given much thought to that period of my life until I discussed it with a friend one day. She told me she didn’t think Christians had a right to “retire,” at least in the sense that we tend to think of it, where we live lives of leisure on the money we’ve saved up.
When I considered it, I realized I had two great examples of Christians who did exactly the opposite. When my grandfather retired from the Florida IRS in the 80s, he and my grandmother bought an RV, and then proceeded to travel all over the US and the world, spending several months at a time donating their time and skills to various mission organizations, all funded by his retirement plan.
Another couple from my church did something similar. When he retired from the police force, they began a second career as missionaries with Operation Mobilization. They didn’t need to fund raise for their income, because they were self-funded, again, by his retirement plan.
Some of our VOM partners have done similar things with their lives. Dr. Thomas Samuel spent years as a pioneer missionary and church planter in India. But as he entered what should have been the twilight of his years of ministry, he prayed a new prayer. He said, “Lord, give me a vision for my life that will inflict the most damage on the kingdom of Satan while I still have breath here on this earth.”
God’s answer was to give Dr. Samuel a vision to prayerfully place 1,000 Bibles in every district in India. It was a daunting task in a nation that has over 600 districts. But Dr. Samuel followed through, and he has now distributed 40,000 Bibles in some of the most hostile and unreached areas of India.
Recently, though, it looked like his work might be prematurely finished. At age 78, his doctor told him he only had three months to live unless he had bypass surgery on his heart. But in spite of the concern of his doctor and his family, Dr. Samuel did not go through with the surgery.
“I bypassed my bypass,” said Dr. Samuel, “and used the money for my surgery to buy more Bibles for the unreached areas of India… just to spite the devil!”
It’s been five years since Dr. Samuel bypassed his bypass, and at 83, he’s still going strong for the Lord, and he has become a strategic partner for VOM’s Bible distribution efforts in north India, an area very hostile to Christians.
So what’s your plan for your retirement years? Will it be golf and travel, or will you also ask God to give you a vision to inflict damage on the kingdom of Satan?
Dory P. has worked with VOM for six years. She grew up in Ecuador, met her husband while working with another mission organization, and now lives in Oklahoma. Between Dory, her husband and two-year-old son, they share five passports. Dory helps tell the stories of the persecuted through VOM's newsletter, and her husband serves with VOM's international department.