Practical Pointers

Time rediscovered

Dave Livermore, MA, is a retired president of the Gulf States Conference, Montgomery, Alabama, United States.

Well, it is really over. My career has come to an end. I am retired. If I may be absolutely truthful with you, I never saw this coming. I am sure I am like a lot of you who thought Jesus would return long before retirement came. I always thought I would have a pulpit to thunder behind just prior to my Lord Jesus’ return. But now, that pulpit is in the hands of others.

People say, “Pastors never really retire.” I beg to differ; they really do. Oh, some carry on ministries during their retirement years, and others may choose to be associate pastors somewhere. But the lion’s share of us pastors are now no longer employed by the church we gave our lives to. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? That is entirely up to the individual.

Rediscovering a first love

In the seven weeks since I retired, I have done a lot of soul searching. I have come to realize that I love and have always loved the Scriptures. God’s Word has been preeminent in my life for many years. But after reflection and prayer, I recognized that in my working years, I somehow neglected my personal study of the Bible. I should have studied a lot more.

I am so excited to have the time to search out the Scriptures with the Holy Spirit and seek answers to questions that I have had or others have raised to me. I read for hours, and then, when I get weary, I listen to God’s Word being read to me.

God brings us together, but time not used efficiently and carefully can cause a divide we never even knew was there.

I have begun to mark up my Bible again. Instead of seeking sermonic material, which has been my life for decades, I am seeking for myself and my individual growth and advancement. I want to be a better Christian; in these years I have left, I want to grow into the man God called me to be. I know God is not done working on me, and I am welcoming the challenges He brings before me in His Word. I love being retired for this reason.

Rediscovering a second love

Another reason I love being retired is time with my wife. Continuing in my reflection, I have come to realize that I neglected spending time with her many times, and she never complained. I should have paid more attention to my wife and family. I gave ministry everything I had every day. My mind never shut down from ministry; I stayed illustration-conscious with everything I read, watched, and heard. I am kind of ashamed to admit this to you, but it is the truth.

My wife served as my secretary while I pastored and when I went into departmental work. My wife said on more than one occasion, “It’s a good thing we work together because I’d never see you otherwise.”

But now, because of the gift of time, my wife and I have really connected again. During my reading of Scripture and study, my dear wife joins me. We raise questions from our reading and then search together for answers. It is like going back years in time to when we started this walk with Jesus and took the time to grow together. It has brought love to a new height in our relationship.

God brings us together, but time not used efficiently and carefully can cause a divide we never even knew was there. Retirement fixed this time issue between us. My friends tease me, saying, “Is your wife sick of you being around all the time yet?” I smile, but deep down, I think, I intend for that never to happen. I am going to love her the way she deserves to be loved and respect her with every day I have left.

What now?

What now? I can answer that: now, I have time for the real priorities in my life.

The time that rushed by in ministry, I have now rediscovered in retirement. For that, I shall be forever grateful.


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Dave Livermore, MA, is a retired president of the Gulf States Conference, Montgomery, Alabama, United States.

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