The Retirement Reformation Manifesto (part 9)


Principle #8:  Focus

We focus our activities on Kingdom building activities.

 

Not every activity is beneficial especially those that are only self-indulgent. Our priority is activities that grow God’s Kingdom; Those activities will lead to the expansion of His Church. We need Jesus and His Holy Spirit to commission and guide our activities.

 

We become what we focus on and what we focus on will impact what we become. Focus and priorities an intertwined. Because we have choices, the decisions we make, how we use our time, what we study or what we watch become the small drips that together point us in life’s direction.

 

Vince Lombardi was a master motivator. His insights into life reverberate way beyond the football field:

We know how rough the road will be, how heavy here the load will be, we know about the barricades that wait along the track, but we have set our soul ahead upon a certain goal ahead and nothing left from hell to sky shall ever turn us back.

 

It takes determination to focus, and perseverance to proceed.

 

There are many who are active, even very active, in retirement. We have all heard a retired friend complain that they have never been so busy. The question is, busy doing what?

Golda Meir once said: Old age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you’re aboard, there’s nothing you can do. She is correct that growing older is unavoidable. She is totally wrong in that choices do remain, a focus can change, and finding your calling in each life stage can yield wonderful results.

 

As a reminder, those life stages include the years of preparation, the transition to an Active life stage, the next transition to the Mentoring stage of life, and finally to the Sharing, or Reflective life stage. Each one will come and go and you get to decide your focus for each. God has a plan for it, will you connect the dots?

 

When we listen for and focus on God’s unique call on our lives, we will find meaning and purpose leading to experiencing the fruits of the spirit. Remember the key Bible verse of the Retirement Reformation: You did not choose me, but I chose you to bear much fruit, fruit that will last. And whatever you ask in my name, the Father will give you. John 15:16 Jesus follows this up with what we are to do: Love each other.

 

Here is not only our focus on building His kingdom but also the promise of help to do it.

It is an unfortunate and disconcerting fact that too many of us focus on ourselves rather than the Kingdom building and fruit-bearing directions of Jesus. The word self-indulgent, while strong and confronting, is also accurate and appropriate. When we turn inward, we move away for Jesus. When we reach outward, we move closer to Him.

 

There once was a man whose family was starving. Picking up his rifle and 3 shells he headed for the woods. His first shot missed a rabbit and his second shot missed a squirrel. Spotting a turkey in the tree he prepared to shoot when he heard a clear voice, “Pray first, aim high, and stay focused.”

 

At about the same time he spotted a deer, a much better option. He lowered his gun and spotted a rattlesnake about to bite him. The rattlesnake became the priority when he again heard the clear voice: “I said, pray, aim high and stay focused.” He followed the voice, raised his gun and shot the turkey. Amazingly the bullet bounced off the turkey killing the deer while the handle fell off the gun and killed the snake. The explosion knocked him off his feet and into the pond.

 

Now he had turkey and deer to eat, a dead snake, and fish in his pockets.

 

Moral of the story: Pray first before you do anything, aim and shoot high in your goals, and stay focused on God.

 

God’s plan for our lives is available for us to know if we follow Jesus, focus on His word, and listen to the Holy Spirit. Pray my friends, pray. Let’s build His Kingdom together holding each other accountable for our focus. Let’s challenge the Church to be a place where our priorities will become clear and we can learn what it means to listen, learn, and apply Jesus command in all we do.

Go to: RetirementReformation.org to review the Manifesto, sign, and join if you agree. Download a copy for your reference and acquire the Retirement Reformation book or one written by any one of our Retirement Reformation Roundtable members.

Bruce Bruinsma