Practical Pointers

The evolution of retirement

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

In my last Ministry article (January 2024), I shared the emotions I felt after just three months of retirement. It has now been three years. As I carefully maneuver my way through this unmarked pathway, I see how my experience has evolved.

In the beginning of my ministry, there was that calling to serve Jesus and people. I pastored several congregations with every ounce of energy I had. God blessed my life and kept me busy in so many ways: sermon preparation, visitation, and evangelism. I heard the Holy Spirit on a regular basis, prodding me this way and that I fought to be at my best each day for many years. And then it was over—or was it?

New routine

I retired. I focused on a better diet and walked five days a week. I lost 50 pounds in one year. Three years into retirement I believe my health is as good as it has ever been. I get up early in the morning to do my devotions and Sabbath School lesson. When I return from golfing, it is Bible Study time and then time for my family. Life is good, and I feel more blessed than I deserve.

Following God has always been an adventure, but I thought that the ministering part of my life was over for good. All I can say is I was so wrong. In one day, everything changed.

Back to work?

After finishing golfing in the scorching heat of Montgomery, Alabama, United States, I was sitting outside of the clubhouse when the general manager (GM) came and visited with me. In the course of our conversation, he let me know he had three part-time positions open and wondered whether I was interested in one of them. I heard that familiar still small Voice say, “You can do that.” It surprised me.

The GM told me his expectations, and I told him my restrictions: not working Saturdays and not lifting anything heavy. It was a match. I took a part-time job at the golf course.

I know what some of you are thinking, Why would you go back to work after you retired? I asked myself that same question, but remember why we began ministry—our love for Jesus and people. That burning in my belly was still lit, and I was not being fed by staying home. My job is definitely different from when I was pastoring. Now I work behind a counter, taking tee times, registering people, moving golf carts, collecting stray golf balls, and doing whatever I am asked.

Satisfying my God-given gifts

I discovered the hunger for people that God placed inside of me was being satisfied. I thought this part of my life was gone once I retired. I was so wrong! I have met so many regular golfers, learned their names, and listened to them as they shared their lives with me. I feel God using me, and it feels so good. The secular working world needs us to invade it with God’s Spirit of encouragement and love. Little did I know, more was to come.

I attended a little church in Troy, Alabama, part of a three-church district. I was helping out by preaching twice a month. That little church asked me to be their pastor. With complete approval of the district pastor and the conference, I said, “OK. I’ll do it!”

This was an opportunity presented to me that I never imagined, and I am more surprised than anybody to discover that the fire in me is satisfied only by actively serving God and other people. I am excited and feel privileged to join the frontlines of ministry once again. I am certainly older now. My eyes have dimmed. I am not as quick moving or thinking as I used to be. But my love for Jesus and passion for His church have not weakened! This is where I belong—at 73 years young.

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

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