Retirement beckons to many just as pretty fruit enticed Eve. Many people bite in and then find many of their days to be empty. Christians should understand that, as Piper writes, "most of the suggestions this world offers us for our retirement years are bad ideas. They call us to live in a way that would make this world look like our treasure. And when that happens, Jesus is belittled." But many Christians fall into worldly thinking.
If Roosevelt administration planners had operated within a Christian worldview, they would have helped religious and civic organizations to carry on their work in helping the poor and the elderly, instead of creating an impersonal governmental system. They would have offered supplementary income to the elderly poor that would have encouraged them to stay with their extended families. How much have we lost in intergenerational community by creating elderly ghettos?
Social Security's fiscal problems are growing not only because the age of access is too low, but because the baby boom bulge will leave millions of retirees supported by too few earners. If more Americans had a Christian worldview, more of us would work as long as we remain able. The elderly would inspire the young by example—I know one physically fit widow who insisted on mowing her own lawn well into her 80s—and contribute financially as well.
Piper says it well: "Finishing life to the glory of Christ means resolutely resisting the typical American dream of retirement . . . We are set free from the cravings that create so much emptiness and uselessness in retirement. Knowing that we have an infinitely satisfying and everlasting inheritance in God just over the horizon of life makes us zealous in our few remaining years here to spend ourselves in the sacrifices of love, not the accumulation of comforts."
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