We were talking about politics and a staff member reminded me that Hillary Clinton is 68, Donald Trump is 69, and Bernie Sanders is 74.… all in the first stage of retirement.
What stage are you in? This realization affirmed for me the truth about and the meaning of the “Active Application” stage of retirement. This is the one that lasts approximately between 67 and 78.
The “Active Application” stage of life.
The description of this stage is as follows: The ability and capacity to put into practice what you have learned up to that point in your life. You can lead, be very productive and bring energy to your endeavors.
To continue with these examples Ronald Reagan was 69 years and 11 months when he was inaugurated. Eight years later, when he left the presidency, he was 77. The years seem to fit. Just to add further perspective, Moses was 120 when he died.... and then there was always Methuselah.
Preparation can start now.
How energizing it is to know that we are just hitting our full stride in terms of experience, wisdom, life perspective and hopefully spiritual maturity during that first third of the last quarter of your life. While God is certainly preparing you to carry out His call on your life during this time, He is also calling you to an active life of preparation. I checked and it appears that Aaron and Moses were in their early forties when they appeared before Pharaoh. Caleb was 40 when he was sent out as one of the spies to the Promised Land. An interesting personal question is this, when did you, or when will you connect with the reality that the last quarter of your life may be your most productive, your most impactful?
Perhaps that realization has not set in yet. Observationally, it seems as if the light turns on, the dawn appears, somewhere between 40 and 50. That light includes the realization that there is a fourth quarter and that preparing for it needs to get started. Often this takes the form of a fear that there won’t be sufficient resources…. not enough money. Actually doing something about funding, or lack thereof, often takes longer and parenthetically, costs more.
It is important to note that financial preparation is not the only stewardship act being prompted. The stewardship of our experiences.… what we learn, the stewardship of our time.... how we prepare and the stewardship of our spiritual journey.... how we are plugged into God’s plan and carrying it out are equally important components of our preparation.
Here is the bombshell: The last quarter of your life can and should be the most impactful time of your life. Not the time to “do nothing but spend your money” for sure. This admonition assumes that you have some, money that is. It is the time to be active like the presidential candidates mentioned above (regardless of what you think about their politics). The last two stages of your life, after Active Application, will be Consultative and the last last stage will be Reflective.
Look up, look out and get going.
If you’ve not come to this realization yet now is the time for the bomb to go off in your head. Look up, look out and begin preparing in earnest. If you are already in one of those stages look up, look out and get going. There is much to do and the “fields are white unto harvest”.
It is so encouraging that our significant meaning and purpose, the ones unique to us, are meant to inspire and encourage us for a lifetime, not just a season. One of our staff at Envoy, when asked what he does, responds,
“I inspire and empower people for a lifetime of ministry”.
How cool is that?
I am both inspired and empowered knowing that my fourth quarter, what we call our time of Future Funded Ministry, actually starts now. Join me, join us, as we prepare and carry out God’s plan for our lives to the very end.
In His Name and for His Glory,
Join me on this Future Funded Ministry Journey.