Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

18 May 2016

Christians Don’t Retire

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As the baby boomer generation continues to age, the percentage of Americans at retirement age is expected to explode, with about 9000 reaching age 65 each day. “Forty-eight million Americans were age 65 and older in 2015, 18 percent more than just five years earlier. The number of older Americans will increase to 74 million by 2030, and 98 million by 2060” (

For many, retirement holds promises of travel, relaxation, and leisure. God certainly wants His children to enjoy the good gifts He has provided. But He also expects us to live our entire lives for Him, not just our working years. That’s why Christians don’t retire from being Christians—you never cease serving Christ.

I’ve had the privilege to work closely with several members of our church who have used their retirement as an opportunity to serve with our campus ministry at Wayne State University. One of the greatest examples I have seen of using your retirement for the glory of God was Clif Tally.

After retiring from being an engineer, Clif audited several classes here at Detroit Baptist TheologicalClif and Jifeng Seminary, simply because he wanted to better understand God and His Word. He became more involved with multiple Bible studies at different retirement homes. He helped start the campus ministry at Wayne State University in 2003 and served there faithfully for the last 13 years. He would spend 25-35 hours a week leading 10-15 different small group and one-on-one Bible studies. He built relationships with scores of international students (many of which were Chinese), spending an hour in English conversation and an hour studying the Bible with them each week. He helped to collect donated furniture and organize a furniture give-away for incoming international students each fall. He incorporated his love of bird-watching into two annual trips with international students to bird-watching events as a means of strengthening the relationships for the sake of the Gospel. Clif never retired from serving Christ, but on Monday God called His good and faithful servant home to enter the joy of his Lord.

Clif exemplified the truth that Christians do not look for their home in this world but in the world to come. They enjoy this life, but they are more concerned with investing in eternity. The years of retirement are an excellent time to serve Jesus. It’s an opportunity to take the wisdom, understanding, and experience gained over the years and pour them back into the lives of others.

Christians don’t retire. They may stop their earthly careers, but they do not stop their work for God. Because they know one day they will be called to enter God’s rest.

“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” (Heb 4:9-10)

4 Responses

  1. Mark Snoeberger

    Just a few years ago I invited Clif to go squirrel hunting with me. He declined at the time, because he couldn’t fit it into his “time budget.” He explained to me that he had just calculated (by the best actuarial estimates) how many weeks he had left in his life, and had allocated each of his remaining weeks to various means of serving Christ–and he just wasn’t sure he could justify a day of personal recreation during the window I had suggested. He took Moses’s advice to number his days quite literally, and I have the greatest respect for his commitments. The number of weeks God gave Clif were fewer than he had planned, but his decision to use each week for Christ means that each week was very well spent, and I am confident is now being amply rewarded. He was a great example to us all.

  2. Nathan Eda

    I hope to accomplish at least 10% of what Brother Clif accomplished for the Lord during his time here on earth, as he was a great example of godliness put into action. I will always remember the wise advice he gave me as I began my seminary education. He asked me to be faithful to God no matter what the circumstance. Praise God for great and godly examples like Brother Clif.

  3. Ann Rees

    Thank you, Ben, for saying so well what I’ve been “trying to say” to so many since Clif’s home-going. I have thought and thought of “who can fill his shoes?” I know that the Lord knows, though, and pray that He provides soon (for our sakes). Clifton will be missed in so many ways, and by so many, but our peace of mind is in knowing that Clif has gained.