“And from the age of fifty years
they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more.
They minister to their brothers in the tent of meeting by keeping guard,
but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.”
(Numbers 8:25–26, ESV)
Twenty-one years ago, we came across the verses above. At age 47, “retirement” for us seemed a long way off! When the door to E. Asia was closing at age 66, we realized that perhaps it was time to serve in a different way.
The ESV above indicates that at 50 we are to cease serving, whereas the NET and NASB versions render the Hebrew term “work.” We are to “retire from performing work.” Yet, in either case, the Levites shall continue to serve their brothers in ministry (Num 8:26).
Although this is not prescriptive for a Christian life today, it is descriptive in that we are not to simply give up and live for ourselves. In our case, just touring around the country, having afternoon tea in wonderful national or state parks, and hiking scenic trails all the remaining days of our lives is not what we envisioned.
Rather, we hope to continue to “minister to [our] brothers [and sisters]” in their ministry by working behind the scenes. There is so much work to be done at the camps, retreat centers, children’s homes, and schools where we serve. It is really a huge blessing to be able to help in whatever way we can.
We will be traveling this week to the Youth Haven Desert Ranch in Eloy, AZ. This is a ministry “… committed to meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of disadvantaged children. This includes boys and girls living in foster care, single-parent families, or low-income homes, as well as children who have experienced abuse, neglect, gang violence, or even a parent in prison” (https://www.youthhaven.org/mission).
We do not know what work they have lined up for us to do. However, in a recent email, they expressed their excitement to have four SOWER couples spend three weeks helping to keep their ministry going. We’re excited to see what the Lord will have us do to minister to our brothers and sisters in their work. 🤠 🤗