The Good Work God is Doing in Your Retirement!


 Rev. Bruce G. Epperly, PhD

Retirement is a time of harvest. A joyful retirement is a time in which a lifetime of growth, integrity, and learning is coming to fruition. A time in which we can look forward to new planting, new growth, new fruit, and new harvests. 

Thanksgiving is the heart of a good life. The virtue of graceful interdependence—gratitude—reminds us that our successes depend on countless persons, known and unknown to us. We are part of dynamic circles of relationships, in which we have received grace upon grace and then share our graces with those who follow us. Nowadays, I have greater gratitude for my seminary and graduate school professors, my mother and father, and the friends who shaped my life, as well as my partner of forty-four years, Kate.

The Apostle Paul reminds us of the intricate ecology of relationships that have brought us to this day: family, friends, institutions, and our nation—and, to be honest, those who contributed to our retirement plans and those who managed them wisely.

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for you...that the one who began a good work in you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ...that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to determine what is best...having produced a harvest of righteousness. (Philippians 3:3-11, excerpts)

Retirement is a new beginning with new possibilities for partnership with God. God is doing a good work in your life, and we can trust that God will guide us toward fulfilling new possibilities in retirement. From the moment of conception, you have been showered with loving possibilities. God’s love has taken form in your cells and your soul and will continue to do so in the future.

Retirement is a time of harvest. A joyful retirement is a time in which a lifetime of growth, integrity, and learning is coming to fruition. A time in which we can look forward to new planting, new growth, new fruit, and new harvests.

The divine aim at beauty—the divine aim at growth and innovation—doesn’t stop when we turn in our church and study keys and receive our first pension check. God has a vision for you and is providing you with the energy to achieve it. More realistic, God has not forgotten you in retirement, nor is retirement a dead end in terms of vocation, spiritual growth, and adventure. God has visions for you—multiple pathways to joyful retirement, creativity, and wholeness—and invites us to choose our own adventures. God beckons us with the invitation, “Surprise me, do something innovative, add value and beauty to life.” There is a harvest ahead for those who commit to using their agency to do something beautiful for God and their neighbor, and who choose to be God’s companions in healing the world.

Looking at your current life, take time to give thanks for your spiritual ancestors, friends, family, teachers, and colleagues, and for the institutions that have nurtured you. Visualize your own personal harvest in retirement. What does it look like? How will it nourish your neighbors? What practices do you need to cultivate to make his harvest fruitful?

Retirement is a holy adventure. An invitation to bless and be blessed, and to harvest the fruit of life well-lived with many possibilities ahead. The good work God has begun in your life, God will bring to fulfillment, and it will be a harvest of righteousness.

Thank you for your good work in my life. Bless the path I am on and inspire me to be part of your creative advance, adding to the joy and beauty of the world. Amen.

Bruce Epperly is a "retired" UCC and Disciples of Christ pastor, seminary professor and administrator, and author of over sixty books in theology, spirituality, health and healing, scripture, and ministerial spirituality and wellbeing, including The Jubilee Years: Embracing Clergy Retirement; 101 Soul Seeds for Grandparents Working for a Better World; and 101 Soul Seeds for a Joyful Retirement. His most recent books are The Elephant is Running: Process and Relational Theologies and Religious Pluralism and Restless Spirit: The Holy Spirit from a Process Perspective. Retired in 2021 as Senior Pastor of South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Centerville, MA on Cape Cod, Bruce and his wife Kate now live in Potomac, MD, where he spends his days writing, teaching, walking, and taking care of his elementary school grandchildren. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..