This is the text of my latest ‘Credo’ article which appeared in the Newark Advertiser on Thursday 29 June.
Just 4 weeks ago I retired following a career of 39 years in Local Government. As people at work heard about my imminent departure (at a relatively early age) almost without exception they asked me – ‘What are your plans for retirement?’
This early on my main plan is to take a little while to rest and to think. I don’t want to rush headlong into a new phase of my life that will make me just as busy (and as stressed!) as I sometimes have been in my work life. But what is clear to me is that I will have a lot of time on my hands and that the delights of daytime TV may be somewhat limited. I will, ultimately, want to find something worthwhile to do with all this time. I will pick up my saxophone again after many years, and learn to play the banjo my work colleagues bought for me as a leaving gift. I might finally get round to laying that patio in the garden. I’m sure my wife has plans for my time too.
She may not be the only one.
In the book of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah we can read ‘I know the plans I have for you, said the Lord.’
One thing that has happened to me, just 2 weeks after I retired, is that I have been accredited as a preacher with my national church body – the Congregational Federation. This has involved several years of spare-time study and the awarding of a degree in Practical Theology by the University of Winchester as well as my having to prove that I have got at least some level of practical competence in what I do.
I am sure that part of God’s plan for me in my retirement is for me to use whatever knowledge and skills I have acquired in my theological training, as well as those from my working life that might be applicable, in furthering the coming of His Kingdom. So I am thinking hard about what this might mean and what new initiatives might be worth trying to reach people in the town. By the time of my next Credo article I expect to have something to announce – so watch this space!
God has plans for every one of us. Not all believers are called to academic study, or to preach, but each of us can, through what we say and through what we do, make this world a better, fairer, more Christian place. It’s our job to let people experience, through our words and deeds, the real difference that Christians can make in our society. Every single one of us can do this – you don’t need any special skills or knowledge, you just need to try and live as Jesus would want.
Have a think about what plans God has for you. And put the plans into action.
Mark Taylor – Deacon of London Road Congregational Church, Newark