February 26, 2024
Hardship

Should missionaries work long hours?

I have observed that missionaries are no longer quite as willing to talk about how many hours we are working. Have you noticed the difference as well? I used to see it as a badge of honor that I had worked more than 60 hours in the past week. I am not so sure that I would admit that today. Would my colleagues see me as a workaholic or unbalanced in my priorities? I also must acknowledge that I don’t have the same level of energy as I did 30 years ago. My work weeks rarely if ever exceed sixty hours these days, whereas when I was a first-term missionary, they were commonplace. As missionaries, we still like to say that we are busy. But in contrast to what I remember from 30 years ago, we are now much more likely to think that something is wrong with us or… Read the whole post
Finishing Well, Coaching, Mentoring

Planning to Restart

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Finishing well Recently I mentioned to a friend that my wife and I will begin our retirement with a sabbatical. He looked at me oddly saying that sabbaticals are usually followed by a return to work. My response was that Christ still has good works for us to do in our retirement (Eph 2:10). In other words, a retirement sabbatical is a time to rest, reflect on past ministry, and discern God’s calling for our remaining years. Indeed, we are called to be a people zealous for good works (Titus 2:13-14). And there is no expiration date on that calling! Essentially, a retirement sabbatical prepares us for a restart. The nine practices mentioned in the previous post can launch us into a fulfilling retirement. Moreover, they help us find meaning and purpose in our later years. A retirement sabbatical is… Read the whole post
Books, Finishing Well, Lifelong Learning

Retirement Sabbatical: Identity and Calling

This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Finishing well In a previous post, I mentioned starting retirement with a sabbatical. In this post and the next, I will explore the benefits a sabbatical brings at the start of retirement. Specifically, I want to describe the anatomy of a sabbatical resulting in discerning identity and calling in retirement. Then, the following post will explore coaching and mentoring in retirement. In other words, this post deals with our self-awareness, and the next post our relationship to others. Anatomy of a Retirement Sabbatical I have a confession to make. I’ve never taken a sabbatical. Furthermore, I’m not retired yet (that comes on January 1, 2022). Yet there are helpful guides for taking a sabbatical. In chapter two of An Uncommon Guide to Retirement, Jeff Haanen outlines nine practices to consider as we plan our retirement sabbatical. 1. Prepare A retirement… Read the whole post
Finishing Well

Is retirement an endless vacation?

This entry is part 7 of 11 in the series Finishing well In my previous blog series, I talked about finishing well in a ministry assignment. But finishing well can also refer to finishing a career, and in our case, finishing a missionary career. Does retirement have a place in finishing well? Various voices answer the question differently. Some reject retirement. Others embrace it. Yet, many wish to modify the popular image of retirement as an endless vacation. In this post, I will explore some realities and perspectives on retirement. In so doing, I will make a case that retirement has a place in finishing well. Energy Levels Decline In the series on finishing well in a ministry assignment, I used the illustration of a relay race. Interestingly, relay teams do not stay together very long. There comes a time when a runner cannot keep the pace of the rest… Read the whole post
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