87 year old pastor encourages Christians to continue in Christ’s service


by Jack Minor —

Christian leader and author Dr. George Sweeting, 87, is challenging baby boomers to not retire the date their AARP card arrives in the mail.

Sweeting, along with his son Dr. Donald Sweeting, has written “How to Finish the Christian Life: Following Jesus in the Second Half.” The book calls for a radical change in how Americans perceive retirement.

The authors explain that the current model of retiring at 65 is unsustainable, pointing to the recent volatility of the stock market and decreasing home values.

They said that with Americans living longer, people may outlive their money. It is currently estimated that baby boomers born in 1955 are expected to live to 79.

The father-son team is challenging boomers to become “retirement rebels.” ‘Think of Billy Graham, serving Christ into his 90s and even then saying he has still not preached his last sermon,’ the Sweetings say.

Their statements are biblical. The apostle Paul said to Timothy “I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

Historically many of the great evangelists of previous generations such as D.L. Moody, George Whitfield, Sam Jones and Billy Sunday continued serving God until their death. The authors say that Christians have unwittingly bought into the worldly mindset that retirement is a right.

They point out the Bible doesn’t conceive of a retirement dream consisting of a person spending their final years doing yard work and tinkering with the car. ‘Second-halfers don’t retire from serving the Lord; they expire while serving the Lord.”

Dr. Jack Hyles, who pastored the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana had the “world’s largest Sunday School.” Hyles pastored until the day of his death; despite the advice from some that he retire. He often said, “I’d rather burn out than rust out.”

Christian musician Rudy Atwood died at his piano. He  had just finished playing “When they Ring Those Golden Bells” at the Country Church of Hollywood where he began playing in 1933 when he was called Home to be with his Lord and Savior.

The authors concede that the idea of retirement makes perfect sense for nonbelievers. “When there is no vision of eternal life as we see in the Bible then this life is all there is. But we have Heaven. Is that not a whole lot better than the retirement dream?”

Additionally, if a Christian truly believes there is a hell where lost people go to spend all eternity, why would we dream of retiring from warning people about the danger?

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