Retired or Refurbished

I'm OUTSIDE looking in," he said sadly. Our eyes met. His were hurt. "No one notices me," he added. "I'm never invited to sit on the platform or offer prayer." So said a capable man who for years had faithfully filled numerous conference positions. In disappointment he passed to his rest early in retirement. . .

-Now retired in Mentone, California, labored for many years in the Pacific Union Conference

I'm OUTSIDE looking in," he said sadly. Our eyes met. His were hurt. "No one notices me," he added. "I'm never invited to sit on the platform or offer prayer." So said a capable man who for years had faithfully filled numerous conference positions. In disappointment he passed to his rest early in retirement. What might have been had he continued actively in some special capacity? There he would have felt the warm heartbeat of people he helped.

Pleas come from all across the country. "Why don't some of you ministers come and help us? Our little church is dying for lack of experienced leadership." Perhaps some of us in retirement ought to spend a portion of each year bringing life into an isolated, struggling church. There are places with substantial buildings, where only a handful of women and a child or two remain. These situations challenge the most experienced.

My wife and I have so many projects laid out we'll never get to them all. Each one has something to do with soul saving. Many of our relatives have been visited in distant lands. Some have been baptized.

But too many retire without any plans. If one feels he's through at retirement he certainly will be. Why not project one's self anew into the service of Christ. The field of former members who have become discouraged could alone occupy much of our retired talent.

Community Services

The Community Services department of the church offers a special opportunity. President Nixon recently said, "Americans should stop regarding older citizens as a burden, and regard them as a resource." We are advised:

If you engage in this work of mercy and love, will the work prove too hard for you? Will you fail and be crushed under the burden, and your family be deprived of your assistance and influence? Oh, no; Cod has carefully removed all doubts upon this question, by a pledge to you on condition of your obedience. This promise covers all that the most exacting, the most hesitating, could crave. "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily." Only believe that He is faithful that hath promised. God can renew the physical strength. And more, He says He will do it. And the promise does not end here. "Thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward." 1 Our Community Services pro gram requires both men and women. We read:

I cannot too strongly urge all our church members, all who are true missionaries, all who believe the third angel's message, all who turn away their feet from the Sabbath, to consider the message of the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. The work of beneficence enjoined in this chapter is the work God requires His people to do at this time.2

The Dorcas or welfare work is only a part of what God has in mind. As a people, it seems, we have not yet seen all the possibilities for giving the message through this channel. Retired men could successfully promote community service among all church members. Much of this service should be done by men. This could include repairing furniture, driving trucks and mobile units, handling disaster material, setting up relief shelters, organizing the men, et cetera. Here some men may do a more influential work perhaps than in their earlier ministry. They can offer service to the sick, the poor, the weary, the aged. Bible studies naturally follow. The delivery of clothing and food opens doors for giving the message. Souls will be reached that otherwise would not be contacted.

It Will Change Your Life

Ministers who give careful study to the book Welfare Ministry can hardly remain the same. Research on the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah will change every man's outlook. And health plus a new experience is promised to every one who enters this field. Notice what changes will take place:

Nothing can, or ever will, give character to the work in the presentation of truth to help the people just where they are so well as Samaritan work. ... As this class of work is done, there will be created an entirely different atmosphere surrounding the souls of the workers. 3

Cod has another important revelation that is startling in its import. Soon there will be no work done in ministerial lines but medical missionary work.4 For their own sake they should, while they have opportunity, become intelligent in regard to disease, its causes, prevention, and cure. And those who do this will find a field of labor anywhere. 5

You will never be ministers after the gospel order till you show a decided interest in medical missionary work. 6

I've found chapter 70 in The Desire of Ages a great challenge to my ministry. Here's just one statement:

He represented its decision [the judgment] as turning upon one point. . . . Their [our] eternal destiny will be determined by what they [we] have done or have neglected to do for Him in the person of the poor and the suffering. 7

For one to know that he is still appreciated and still capable of limited service brings a wealth of satisfaction into the life. It also helps to keep one young and healthy.


1. Ellen G. White, Welfare Ministry, p. 31.

2. Ibid., p. 33.

3. Ibid., p. 132.

4. Ibid., p. 139.

5. Ibid., p. 137.

6. Ibid., p. 139.

7. Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 637.

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-Now retired in Mentone, California, labored for many years in the Pacific Union Conference

August 1973

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