In An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life, Jeff Haanen writes that there is a growing sense of uneasiness among Americans ages 50–70. Baby boomers, and even early Gen Xers, are asking new questions about life, work, calling, and purpose in retirement—questions that our society is largely unprepared to answer. This book helps the reader with those questions.
Haanen writes that the dominant paradigm of retirement today is about vacation—how to afford it, and then how to make the most of it. But Haanen suggests beginning retirement with a stretch of deep Sabbath rest in which to find God’s call for the next season of life.
Haanen tells us that a Christian perspective on retirement needs a restoration of work, rest, and service that matures over a lifetime. He addresses topics such as learning, mentoring, and reconnecting with family in retirement.
Haanen tells us that the church has been nearly silent on the topic of retirement, and then asks, “What would it look like for the Christian church in America to transform our narrative about retirement?”
Haanen includes helpful stories to illustrate his points throughout the book, and contrasts “Common” vs. “Uncommon” ideas about retirement. A “Discussion Guide” is available for free download, making this a good book to read and discuss with others.
This is an excellent resource that pastors can recommend for those who are retired or will soon be retired.
Below are 20 great quotes from the book:
- Baby boomers are uneasy about outdated notions of retirement and are asking new questions about work, finances, rest, family, calling, and purpose.
- Most older Americans want a saner schedule of work and rest in retirement. Yet a life defined only by leisure in retirement often leads to depression.
- A Christian perspective on retirement needs more than “never retire, keep working.” It needs a restoration of work, rest, and service that matures over a lifetime.
- The early years of retirement provide the perfect time to take a much-needed sabbatical.
- Work was created to be an expression of our identity, not the source of our identity.
- Sabbatical is the time to ask the honest question, “God, what are You calling me to do in retirement?”
- Listening to God’s voice is at the heart of discerning your calling.
- Discerning your calling is to move outward toward the majesty of God and a lifetime of service to Him.
- For many, retirement offers a budding hope for work that better aligns with calling, yet is less subject to the deadline-driven pressure of their careers.
- Today a growing number of boomers are making a shift from a Let’s vacation mentality to a life of service; from purposelessness to reengagement; from consumption to “wisdom and blessing;” from free-floating days to committed work for the well-being of their neighbors over a lifetime.
- Work is inherently good and a way we reflect the image of God.
- Work is the primary avenue for fulfilling Christ’s command to love your neighbor as yourself.
- For Christians, work is fundamentally about contribution to others, not compensation; it’s an expression of our identity, but not the source of our identity; it’s about serving others, not personal success.
- Retirement is the chance to pick up the strands of your calling that might have been latent during your career and develop them more fully into your life’s work.
- Learning in retirement can be preparation for a new job, career, or volunteer position that flows from a God-given calling.
- Today many are swapping a traditional idea of mentoring for the practice of intergenerational friendship.
- For many, serving kids, grandkids, and aging parents is central to a sense of vocation in this season of life.
- Studies find that those who write out their plan for retirement are far more satisfied than those who don’t.
- Caring for the spiritual nourishment of the next generation is a way to think about a deep vocation in retirement.
- God is calling our generation to repurpose, not retire.