Did you know the word “retire” only appears in the entire Bible one time? It is found in the Old Testament in Numbers 8:24-26. This scripture speaks of Levitical priests retiring at the age of 50 from serving in the temple, but it is not in the context we think of today. Instead it is instruction for the older generation to step down from leading in the work, but to continue helping and mentoring the younger generations in the faith.
The word “work” on the other hand, appears over 350 times in the Bible. We are shown God’s plan for mankind to work starting in Genesis 2:15 – The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. This was in the beginning of creation even before the fall of man. I’ve heard it said many times that work is the curse of man’s fall to sin. I believe this scripture clearly nullifies that thought because God put man in the Garden of Eden to work it before the fall.
Not only is work Biblical, but hard work is Biblical. Exodus 20:9 – Six days you shall labor and do all your work. It is interesting to think about God’s mandate to work and see the trend developing around the world of shorter work weeks, plus more vacations. You may ask, “Am I never supposed to rest?” In the very next verse God’s word does call for us to rest one day of the week to rejuvenate. Exodus 20:10 – But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work.
God also gives many warnings in the Bible about resting and sleeping too much.
Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry.
Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.
So is retirement Biblical? Based on God’s word what do you think? I invite you to look up how many times the following words appear in different scriptures – retire, work, rest, sleep and come to you own conclusion about the matter.