Friday, March 13, 2009

rethinking retirement

I passed a billboard today that caught my attention. It was an ad for Charles Schwab (you know, "Talk to Chuck"), and it said something along the lines of Nobody wants to work forever. The message of the ad is basically - hey, if you want to retire someday then 'talk to Chuck' and we'll help you plan for it. Makes sense.

But the way the ad is phrased speaks volumes about how our culture views work: Get it done, suffer through it, pay your dues and then you'll get to retire, because obviously nobody wants to work forever.

I understand that there comes a time in a person's life where they are finished with a particular career; actually most people will hit that mark and switch careers four or five times. And I also understand that it is usually appropriate for people in their seventies, eighties and beyond to adopt a slower pace of life than the 9-5 grind.

But what is 'work' if not vocation? And what is vocation if not the calling of God? So, I'm confused... Why don't we want to work forever?

[The title of this post is also the title of a book by John Piper, to be released April 2009. The book inspired the image above. H/T: Christianity Today Imago Fidei]

1 comment:

Deborah said...

I dream of retiring someday so that I can do the work that I want to do, so that I can spend my days writing music and volunteering for organisations that are close to my heart. So sure, that's all still work, but it's not the same. More focused on God's work without that pesky bill-paying work getting in the way. And there's another difference -- when you're doing the work you want to do, it doesn't feel like work.

So I'd be more than happy to talk to Chuck. But I don't know if there's a Chuck in Canada.

(Unless Joel has his way and we retire to Islay and we run a whisky distillery or something like that. Then I don't even know.)