Longing Wrongly

Day 1 of 6 • This day’s reading



Longing wrongly

Get ready for a weird sentence: I lust for retirement. Retirement may seem like an odd object of lust, but my thesaurus says it’s an appropriate synonym for the yearning I feel for “the golden years.”

If there’s any group I get jealous of, it’s retirees. Their accomplishments are secure, their plaques hang on the wall and their trophies sit on the shelf. No more work required. Retirees’ time is their own. While I’m rushing in the coffee shop from my previous appointment; they’re the ones sipping on coffee and finishing that long newspaper article in one sitting.

I long for this stage of life, particularly on the difficult days. I think of retirement the way a guy in a coach seat thinks of first class: If I could just get up there, I’d enjoy the rest of the trip! But maybe my lust isn’t so unusual. Perhaps I’m not the only one. In Mark Buchanan’s book The Rest of God, he states:

A typical response to threat and burden is to want to flee it … “If only I could get away” … Then I would be safe and then I would enjoy my life. But … once we begin to flee the things that threaten and burden us, there is no end to the fleeing. 1

I imagine that retirees might be chuckling saying, “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be!” I heard one retiree define his stage of life as “Waking up with nothing to do and going to bed without getting it all done.” Maybe those who have completed “my” leg of the race lust for early morning meetings and memos, a house full of kids and afternoons spent carpooling. I’m sure the planned relief of daily vocational stress isn’t meant for TV watching or napping, but for the opportunity to serve the Lord and love family and friends.

Retirement may seem like a silly lust. But to me it’s comparable to the woman who can’t wait to be married; or the married couple who can’t wait to have a child; or the teenager who can’t wait to get out of his parents’ house and live on his own. If life had a fast-forward button, a lot of us would use it to reach whatever it is we deem more attractive than today’s agenda. But it’s one thing to long; it’s another to lust.


1. Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God (Nash ville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006), p. 17.

 You can get Gregg Matte’s book by clicking on Finding God's Will.