Summary: You may be retired from secular work, but your work for God has just been enlarged!
During my meditation and prayer time it came to me that I am not retired, I am in full time ministry! Not in a paying position, but certainly in position for having a rewarding life that is more than pay.
Most of my life, I have been bi-vocational and ministered without pay. The nutty thing about that though is it hurt me when I would seek a vocational ministry. I asked a friend once to tell me what was wrong with my resume or me. His reply was that I did not have enough titles and no vocational salary. Sounds a bit like secular logic. You don't have enough experience, but how do you get the experience if no one will hire you to get it. I can't minister to you because I did not have a large salary history, but how do you get that if no one will give you a ministry opportunity with a salary or give you titles?
I figured lack of titles while doing the work would show I am not in ministry for an ego trip. Lack of salary I thought would show I was not in it for filthy lucre's sake. Silly me. Funny, how we fuss about ministers who have huge salaries, but we look at past salaries to call a pastor. Oy! I think I freaked one church out when I told them that I would come for 10K less and they could use that money to pay off the mortgage. Never heard from them again after that. They probably thought I was crazy or something else was wrong me as no one considers a lower salary. ;-)
The up side of that is that no one could say I was in it for money. Even with the few times I received some compensation, I probably lost more money in ministry than I earned from a secular perspective. Indeed, I have given away more of my books than I have sold. Yet, I have always been taken care of so I could do ministry with or without title or salary and that has its advantages as well.
I have seen and heard some crazy things in ministry. Without a salary certainly freed me from folks who think they own a pastor and hold "firing" over his head if he should upset the board, the ladies or whoever. I could preach what I saw as truth and my feelings might be hurt if they ran me off, but my family would not be in trouble financially.
Thus, I think God was preparing me the last forty years for full-time ministry by providing the finances to allow me to retire and be dependent upon Him for what ministry I can do without having to cater to board and congregational whims that may not have any biblical basis, but satisfies their flesh.
Also, I am not limited to any particular position. There are many types of ministries at my church and I am participating in as many as I can. I have my internet ministry which has several forms. I can reach out to other folks as well through my PC skills. I am trying to get a Veteran Peer Support group started. I serve my community through Citizens on Patrol and I’m open to whatever God puts in my path.
Now, some might think I am tooting my horn here, but actually I am trying to inspire everyone, but especially retired folks, to ask God what they can do now that they are able to be in full time ministry rather than just sucking air and eating groceries waiting for the undertaker or the Rapture.
Heb 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
Pastor Mike Mizell spoke on this passage last night. These dudes all had major issues. None of them would have been people we would have called to do the mission God called them to do. Their resume would have went in the round file. Yet, God did call and use them. These lads prove that there is plenty of room for us.
You can do what you are willing to do and what God wants you to do regardless of education, age, approval of men, financial situations, etc. Health issues only mean you serve in a different capacity than a healthy person.
Do not feel worthy? OK, that attitude can be used far more than thinking you are all that and a bag chips with God lucky to have you. I say this with all honesty, if serving Him had anything to do with my worthiness then my only course of action would be to sit on the back porch sipping tea because I am not worthy of anything I have, especially my wife, or worthy to have done any ministry I have ever done even taking offering or cleaning the church. For years I said in all sincerity that the only reason that I am the Assistant Chief of Sinners is because Paul already took the Chief slot. We are all unworthy, but God said He loves us knowing all our junk, even junk we do not know we have or junk we forgot. Thus He uses imperfect people. Failed? All God has to use are failures as there are no perfect people.