Live with Meaning: Faithful for a Lifetime

During a recent trip to Australia, I was privileged to speak with ministry leaders from across Australia. All of them are in their 4th Quarter and this occasion was the launching of the 4th Quarter Connection ministry of Christian Management Advancement organization. What a privilege it was to share with them and give a jump start to this new ministry! Their goal is to help change the country for Jesus with those who are in or entering their 4th Quarter which begins at the age of 60 and continues throughout the remainder of their lifetimes. 

In that presentation I encouraged them to focus on and retain three ideas:

1.    The 4th Quarter lasts for a lifetime.

2.   Each stage of the 4th Quarter must be funded and it can be referenced as a Future Funded Ministry rather than retirement.

3.  There are three key stages in retirement; the 4th Quarter or even what the Bergstrom’s, in their book by that name, suggest the 3rd Calling.

The three stages of retirement are:

Active Application

Consultative Input

Reflective Sharing

Before and between each of these stages is a Strategic Pause. This is a time to pursue reflection, prayer and careful listening for God’s whisper in your ear.

Our future is often and usually rooted in our past with either a reaction to something negative or an affirmation of the positive. Either way, a time of reflection, prayer and listening is an integral component of preparing for the next stage of life, including those three during the 4th Quarter.

Here is an admonition from the Apostle Peter shared at the end of his life

1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV

[10] Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. [11] If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Next, let’s embrace the key issues and process available to move into the 4th Quarter coupled with the issues many struggle with to make it both meaningful and purposeful.

1.     We need to develop and agree on the language of longevity: We are the first generation that has to confront the issues of longevity. Up until recently we were faced with the brevity of life and now we are faced with its length. Finding and agreeing on the language to use to describe both the issue and the solution is evolving. We are developing the language of longevity as well as a lexicon that is both recognizable and accepted.

 2.     Developed in the crucible of discovery: A crucible is a container, like a bowl, where we place our issues, suffering, and confusion and something new results because of the integration of the different elements. Together, we will discover that out of the pain these new discoveries can add immense purpose into our lives.

 3.     That reflects an energetic confidence: Energetic confidence is the energy that proceeds from knowing where you are going and why you are going there. All Christians can live with energetic confidence and it is heartbreaking that so many do not.

 4.     As we navigate the river of life: The river of life continues for a lifetime. Each stage of the river is different, yet God has a purpose in each one for all of us. Every aspect has value and a purpose if we are available to pursue it. He prepares us to help build his earthly Kingdom during every stage of our lifetime.

 5.     That leads to the active application of all we have learned: This is the first stage of the 4th Quarter. This is where we can both lead and wisely apply all the lessons learned during our previous journey on the river of life.

6.     The purposeful and consultative input into the real and significant issues of life: This is the second stage of the 4th Quarter. Here is where we have the opportunity to bring insight and wisdom to both the issues and struggles of the journey for others.  

7.     And the reflective sharing about those issues with those who follow: This is the third stage of the 4th quarter which is encompassed by reflective sharing. Billy Graham is a wonderful example of a man that utilized every opportunity for reflective sharing all throughout his life.

Can you see it? Can you see your retirement that isn’t marked by insignificance while lacking value but instead, a continuation of a life with both meaning and purpose that completes your God appointed roles of building the earthly Kingdom? This 3rd stage also enters us into our joyous roles in His Heavenly Kingdom

 The three facets of the 4th Quarter are:

1.     No diminution, no lessening, no reduction of meaning and purpose, but an increased intentionality to appreciate and interact with the changing landscape of life. While that landscape changes during our journey, our call to interact with that changing landscape in God appointed ways does not. It extends for a lifetime!

2.     The call to do all that He appoints while allowing our individual roles to come together and compose a body of believers here on earth creating a cacophony of blessing to others and a sense of deep fulfillment to each of us who thankfully follow JESUS on that river of life.

 3.     This is a life of meaning and purpose that reflects praise to JESUS our Prophet, Priest and King and clearly invites others to join with us where they can also experience what it means to be faithful for a lifetime. Where they too can experience a fulfilled and joyous life of meaning and purpose.

This does not change the realities of life such as aging, challenges or suffering, but it certainly changes how we respond to them. It does not change the facts but it does change the results. 

 Reflect on what is above. Decide how you will respond. The decision will be life changing, regardless of how you make it. And remember, “no decision” is still a decision.

Be blessed and continue with us on the Journey and take a moment to share this with others in your life.

Bruce Bruinsma