Book Review

 'Rethinking retirement: finishing life for the glory of Christ.'  John Piper, Crossway.


It's always good to think ahead and find out what challenges are faced by other racial or social groups or, in this case, a different age group. You don't have to be a ‘wrinkly’ to profit from the small booklet called ‘Rethinking retirement: finishing life for the glory of Christ.’(Author: John Piper. Publisher: Crossway. Less than 30 small pages). On that theme also is ‘Finishing our course with joy: Ageing with hope.’( Author: Jim Packer. Publisher IVP, approx. 100 pages.) Both authors have followed Jesus for decades and distill their wisdom on the subject of ‘retirement’. Independently of each other, they both question and expose the emptiness that can exist in the current Western world view on retirement.


Packer writes:”.... It prescribes idleness, self-indulgence, and irresponsibility as the goal of one's declining years. This, over time, will generate a burdensome sense that one's life is no longer significant, but has become, quite simply, useless.”

Both authors point to the glory of Christ as the goal of the disciple:’Christ must be our Treasure. And the life that we live must flow from this all-satisfying Christ.. the life that flows from the soul that lives on Jesus is a life of love and service.’ (Piper. p.19).

Examples of saints from church history,who persevered in the faith to old age, are given particularly by Piper. Packer highlights the need for “zeal”: ‘Maintaining zeal Godward as our bodies wear out is the special discipline to which ageing Christians are called.’ (See pp.72-77).

This book was written by Packer in his nineties- he has written more books in his ‘retirement’ than he did in his everyday working life,in which he was a prolific author! That is an encouragement and a challenge to us to work for the kingdom and glory of God. In this, Packer reminds us,we are sustained by hope - in the final chapter entitled ‘We look forward”

The New Testament presents faith in Christ as restoring to us the hope of an unimaginably glorious future. There will be an effectual elimination of evil, an endless extrapolation of good, and ecstatic extension of fellowship with a glorified Christ and glorified Christians, and eternal enjoyment of God’s glory and beauty in ways that we cannot at present begin to conceive.’
Sam Storms on Packer’s book says, ”Don't wait until you’re sixty or seventy to read this book. Start now and finish well.” 

These books are worth the investment. None of us is getting younger but we have gifts that are to be used and God to be glorified until we go to ‘an unknown country with a well-known inhabitant.’

Pete Davies 
Pete Davies, 26/07/2019