Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever. That’s from the Westminster Shorter Catechism. And for me, at least, it sums up our purpose as human beings for our brief time here on planet Earth. But what is interesting is how our perspectives change over time.
As young people, our goals tend to cluster around building a career, a family and a home. But as we age and get into our 50s and beyond, the search for “success” often turns into a search for “significance.” Leaving a legacy lands on our radar as we pass through the retirement years; in our 20s and 30s, most of us didn’t even know what a legacy was (or care much about it). For retirees, relationships take on enormous importance, while material stuff fades (literally and figuratively).
Relationships obviously include family and friends. But as we age, our spiritual relationship with God becomes more important, more obvious as a priority. Sometimes we pretend to ignore God, preferring to call our own shots as long as possible. But when a serious illness strikes, for instance, or some other serious life event, many of us do call out to God in desperation.
But my question is, why wait to call on God? If the Westminster Catechism is right (and I believe it is), we can begin enjoying that key relationship with God now. If you’re approaching retirement, there’s no time like the present to begin seeking God, if you don’t know Him already. Because in retirement, you’ll have more control over how you spend your time than at any point in your life. The last thing you want to do is retire, and then ask yourself “Now what?”
If retirement happiness/satisfaction/fufillment/purpose is high on your list of priorities, the place to start now is with your relationship to God. Put that key relationship into its proper place, and your retirement years will be fuller than you ever thought possible. Knowing God now is a key part of maximizing your retirement readiness.