Several years ago, I went from working full time to pretty much being semi-retired. I was thinking about hanging it up completely but I just didn’t know if I was ready to face the idea of being “retired.” I know that it’s very much a personal decision but in our family, it seems that people who retire have a rather short life expectancy. My Dad died at 55 – long before he had even planned to retire – and my maternal grandfather practiced law until he finally decided to stop working. Then, he passed away as the result of a stroke.
Anyway, I know that retirement is a big decision and one of the things that I have learned during the last three years or so is that my corporate contacts and business circles tended to contract rather quickly. Put another way, when people realize that you are no longer trying to grow your company they no longer call or depend on you the way they used to in the old days.
In September, 2016, I actually wrote a post on this very subject after having a discussion with a friend of mine. He told me that many people who quit working must learn how to be a P.I.P. – a previously important person. I laughed and have to admit that I have thought about that conversation many times since. In fact, there is a lot of truth to adjusting to retirement. It is important to be self-disciplined and to realize that the younger generations coming up are looking to make their mark in the corporate world.
I’m still busy with some consulting work, but I am much more selective in what I choose to do. I also volunteer with career transition work for people looking to deal with the issues of unemployment and I teach the Bible on Thursday evenings.
I have even been asked to help teach Bible at a church for a group of women who call themselves the “Soul Sisters!” I was told earlier this week that I was made an honorary “Soul Sister” after teaching my first lesson several weeks ago. What I thought was a guest appearance has turned into an ongoing assignment and I can’t think of anything that I would rather do that teach lessons from the Bible.
Anyway, I am doing much different work that I did when I ran a company. On an eternal scale, it is much more important. I don’t have to pay attention to the clock on the wall and, while many retirees find themselves taking part time work at some store, that’s not something that I would enjoy doing.
So I have been speaking with Janet about my P.I.P. status, trying to figure out how to handle the next season of my life and, to my surprise, she has taken an entirely different approach to my current situation. Last week, she told me that I wasn’t a P.I.P – rather, I was an A.I.P – an Always Important Person! I like the sound of that – I’m still relevant and have loads of things to offer. It’s the audience that I sometimes lack. But it turns out that there is a huge market for teaching God’s word to people who are hungry for more education. And that’s my sweet spot.
Aside from that, God makes it very clear that we are all important to Him – while members of the corporate community may only appreciate people who can help them achieve more financial success. So, I agree… each of us is an A.I.P.! And that realization makes it so much easier to think about next steps. It doesn’t have to be something terrific by the world’s standards. It is much more important that it is important to God; preferably something with an eternal consequence.
Our verse for tonight is from John’s first epistle. The apostle tells us, in 1 John 3:1, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” My encouragement this evening is that we all all important to God – not sometimes important – but always important! My prayer is that we will all realize that God loves us with a divine love – an agape love. And that love is the most important love that we can ever experience. So pay attention because your next chapter for God will be greater than anything that you can possibly imagine! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…