Don’t’ retire, but refire
A century ago the risk at retirement was dying too young but nowadays the risk is to live too long – and not knowing how to spend their time meaningfully. Examples of people who continued to live abundant lives:
Moses at 80 led the Israelites out of slavery
Michelangelo was still composing poetry in his 89th year
Webster wrote his monumental dictionary at 70
Oliver Wendall Holmes learnt Greek at 90. Asked why he was still learning Greek at 90, he replied, “It’s now or never”
Many people marvel how at our age we are still going on missions, speaking in different countries, travelling to different continents. We reply that as long as God gives us health and energy we will continue to serve Him. We enjoy what we are doing and we are revitalized with new adventures and experiences.
In our travels we met some like-minded people. They refused to retire, instead they like Caleb who at 85 asked God to “give me this mountain”, stepped out of their comfort zone, took on challenges, utilized their vast store of experiences to carry out mighty exploits for their Lord .
Gan Chui Peng is a well known person in our home town Melaka known to many past students and colleagues as Miss Gan the capable Headmistress of the Melaka Methodist Girls’ School. After her retirement she continued to be active, helping to set up Nilai International School and was its principal for about three years. With her administrative skill and goodwill among her friends both inside and outside the church she worked with a group of dedicated persons to establish Agapecare, an organization which ministers to the needy like single mothers, the elderly, refugee children, old folks home, etc. As an educationist she uses her expertise to negotiate with govt. officials on educational matters like getting christian principals to head mission schools, speaks on behalf of the christian community/church on maintaining their rights, etc. She helps in her church Bahasa service, is a faithful, longtime distributor of Asian Beacon in the English service, etc . Besides this she leads a weekly ladies bible study group, drives and picks up people who need lifts and was our driver for the week that we were in Melaka, ferrying us to our many meetings. How’s that for a retiree?
When he heard of our mission adventures in Cambodia he was immediately interested.
Ong Teong Hoon was the manager of Kredit a microfinance institution whom our brother in law Lim Hua Min of Phillip Capital wanted us to meet when he heard we were going to Cambodia. Having been country manager of an international bank in Cambodia Ong was ready to retire from banking and looking forward to years of playing golf back in Singapore when he took up the challenge and decided to return to Cambodia to make use of and share his domain expertise in commercial banking. Buying into World Relief’s microfinance arm to help the poor to lift their standard of living, they conduct their business emphasising Christian ethos. Today it has grown considerably to having more than USD 130m loan portfolio and is now present in 18 of the 24 provinces. Ong’s decision to start a second career was indeed a good one as he continues to fulfil the “good works which God has prepared for him”.
The above retirees refuse to spend their retirement in pottering around their garden, golf course or lazing endlessly staring at ocean waves from the deck chairs of their cruise liners. Instead they are living fulfilled, abundant lives, using their God-given accumulated experience to benefit others and to extend the Kingdom of God.
Specially meaningful for Tek & me is the testimony of their happy families and the song at the very end “If you go before me”.