A close-up photo of an open Bible with highlighted verses on contentment, stewardship, and God's provision, encapsulating the Biblical perspective on retirement.

What Does The Bible Say About Retirement?

Retirement is a concept that many people look forward to in their working lives. The thought of no longer having to wake up early to go to work or deal with stressful work situations can seem very appealing. For Christians, questions may arise about what the Bible says on the topic of retirement.

Does the Bible encourage retirement? Are there any verses that discuss when to retire or how to spend your retirement years? This article will provide a comprehensive look at various biblical principles and passages related to retirement.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The Bible does not directly address retirement, since it was not a common practice in ancient times. However, biblical principles on stewardship, rest, provision for one’s household, and using gifts and talents can provide wisdom for thinking about retirement decisions.

The Bible Does Not Specifically Mention Retirement

Retirement is indeed a modern concept that was not explicitly discussed in the Bible. However, there are some important biblical principles regarding rest, provision, and using our gifts that can provide wisdom as we think about retirement today.

Retirement is a Modern Concept

The word “retirement” simply does not appear in Scripture. In biblical times, most people worked in agriculture or other physically demanding jobs their entire lives. The concept of retiring from one’s career in older age developed in recent centuries along with pensions, Social Security, and other retirement planning vehicles.

So while the Bible does not directly address retirement, it does speak to themes of rest, discernment, provision, and stewardship of resources. We can glean helpful principles from Scripture to prayerfully guide decisions about retiring well for God’s glory.

Principles on Rest and Provision Still Apply

Though the Bible does not mention retirement, it does teach important truths about rest and provision that can inform our thinking:

  • God modeled rest on the seventh day after His creative work (Genesis 2:2-3), and the Sabbath commandment requires setting aside regular times of rest (Exodus 20:8-11). Periods of rest and renewal are wise even in retirement years.
  • Jesus tells us not to worry about provision for tomorrow, but to trust our Heavenly Father knows our needs (Matthew 6:25-34). This frees retirees to walk in faith rather than fear about finances.
  • Multiple passages such as 1 Timothy 5:3-16 emphasize caring for widows and the poor in the church. We should make provision for our own needs to avoid unnecessarily depending on others later in life.
  • Older members of the body are to teach and set an example for younger generations (Titus 2:1-8). Retirement can open up more time for investing in others.

Stewardship Principles for Retirement Savings

Saving for the future

The Bible encourages wise planning and saving for the future. Proverbs 21:20 says, “The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.” We should be diligent and disciplined in putting money aside for later years.

At the same time, we must remember that God is ultimately our provider and seek His wisdom (see Proverbs 3:5-6).

Start saving for retirement early. Experts recommend saving at least 10-15% of your income for retirement. Take advantage of employer-matched retirement accounts like 401(k)s. Consider setting up automatic transfers from your paycheck to retirement savings.

Live below your means and avoid unnecessary debt that can inhibit saving.

Avoiding debt

The Bible warns against debt that can lead to bondage. Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” While reasonable debt like mortgages or student loans may be unavoidable, we should avoid consumer debt from credit cards or reckless spending.

Focus on paying off debts quickly to maximize retirement savings.

Make budgets and live frugally to save more. Consider downsizing your home or vehicles. Shop with cash rather than credit. Establish an emergency fund so unexpected expenses do not require debt. Seek God’s wisdom on major purchases to avoid burdensome financial obligations.

Retiring debt-free provides peace and freedom.

Tithes and offerings

While saving diligently, we must remember to keep God first in our finances. Honoring God with the first and best of our income through tithes and offerings should remain a priority. As Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”

This requires faith, but God promises to provide abundantly when we put Him first.

When planning retirement savings, consider setting aside money for tithes and offerings first before other allocations. Seek wise counsel from pastors, financial advisors, and others on stewarding finances faithfully.

Trust God to direct your paths and provide for needs when your heart is set on honoring Him.

Using Gifts and Talents in Retirement

Serving others

Retirement provides a great opportunity for people to use their gifts and talents to serve others. Many retirees find fulfillment in volunteering for nonprofits, community organizations, or their place of worship.

They can use their career skills and experience to mentor the next generation entering the workforce or to provide consulting services to small businesses and startups. Retirees may enjoy roles teaching, tutoring, or coaching kids and young adults. Their wisdom and life experience are invaluable.

Retirement years are a season of life where retirees can focus on leaving a positive legacy.


Volunteering during retirement is a win-win – helping others in need while also benefiting the volunteer. Studies show volunteering leads to greater health and happiness in retirement. It provides a sense of purpose and community.

There are abundant volunteer opportunities to match one’s interests and abilities, including roles supporting education, healthcare, the environment, homelessness, or disaster relief. Sites like VolunteerMatch.org and the Corporation for National and Community Service connect retirees to local and virtual volunteering options.

Volunteering keeps retirees mentally, physically, and socially active while allowing them to make new friends and business contacts.

Sharing wisdom and experience

Retirees have accumulated a wealth of wisdom and experience that is invaluable to share with younger generations. Retirees can pass on knowledge by mentoring young professionals just entering their career field.

They can provide business consulting to entrepreneurs needing expert advice from someone who’s “been there, done that.” Retirees can coach youth sports teams and teach skills they’ve honed over a lifetime. Their life stories, oral histories, and practical know-how have much to teach today’s youth.

Retirees can write memoirs or how-to books drawing on their career expertise. Speaking at schools, conferences, or community centers allows retirees to inspire others with their insights. With today’s longevity, retirees have many productive years to impart hard-earned wisdom.

Caring for Family in Retirement Years

Providing for spouse and children

In retirement, caring for one’s family remains a top priority. Many retirees find themselves providing financial support for spouses who are also retired or children who are just starting out. Here are some tips for providing for family in retirement:

  • Evaluate expenses and create a retirement budget that includes provisions for family. Make sure to account for ongoing costs like housing, food, transportation, and health care.
  • If possible, pay off debts like mortgages and loans while you are still working. This will reduce expenses in retirement.
  • Discuss retirement plans and expectations with your spouse. Make decisions together about how much financial support to provide children.
  • Set boundaries and limits so support for family doesn’t put your own retirement at risk. Your own needs matter too.

Providing care and support for loved ones can be immensely rewarding in retirement. With proper planning, retirees can balance family responsibilities with their own needs and dreams for the future.

Caring for aging parents

In addition to supporting spouses and children, many retirees find themselves caring for elderly parents in their later years. This can involve major emotional, physical, and financial commitments.

Here are some tips for retirees caring for aging parents:

  • Have open conversations about their health, living situation, financial status, and care preferences. Do they want to age in place or move closer to family? What level of care do they want?
  • Evaluate their expenses and resources to see if they can afford in-home care, assisted living, or nursing home care. Look into long-term care insurance options.
  • Explore community services like Meals on Wheels, transportation assistance, adult day programs, respite care, support groups, etc. These can provide help and give family caregivers a break.
  • Divide care responsibilities among family members. Don’t try to do it all yourself. Siblings can share the responsibilities.
  • Take care of your own health and wellbeing. Caregiving can be emotionally and physically draining. Don’t neglect your own needs.

Caring for aging parents is a common issue faced by retirees that requires advance planning and open communication. By sharing the responsibilities, retirees can ensure aging parents are well cared for while maintaining their own health and financial stability.

Leaving an inheritance

One way retirees provide for their families is by leaving an inheritance. Surveys show that 64% of retirees consider leaving an inheritance important. However, estate planning to preserve wealth for heirs can be complex.

Here are some tips for retirees who hope to leave an inheritance:

  • Hire an estate planning attorney and create clear legal documents like a will, trust, and healthcare power of attorney to ensure assets are distributed as intended. Keep beneficiary designations updated.
  • Consider gifting assets while still living instead of only leaving an inheritance. This can reduce tax liability.
  • Discuss plans openly with heirs and set clear expectations. Will assets be distributed equally or based on need?
  • Balance inheritance goals with enjoying your own retirement. Don’t unnecessarily deprive yourself just to leave more wealth.
  • Review estate plans regularly with your attorney to adjust to life changes like marriages, births, deaths, etc.

Leaving an inheritance can be a gift and legacy for family members. With thoughtful planning, retirees can ensure their assets are passed on according to their wishes.

Enjoying Rest and Leisure in Retirement

Sabbath rest

The Bible encourages us to set aside a Sabbath day of rest each week to recharge our bodies and spirits (Exodus 20:8-11). This principle can be applied to retirement as well. After decades of work, retirement can be a welcomed season of rest and renewal.

Retirees should embrace this gift of rest that God desires for them. Get plenty of sleep, take naps, go for walks, read books, pray and meditate. Don’t feel guilty about “not being productive.” God looked at His creation on the seventh day and declared it “very good” (Genesis 1:31).

Retirement is a chance for us to realign with God’s rhythm of work and rest.

Travel and hobbies

Many retirees dream of traveling more or pursuing new hobbies once they leave the workforce. With more free time and hopefully decent savings, retirement can offer opportunities to embrace new adventures.

The book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is “a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Retirement is the perfect season to enjoy long-delayed travels or hobbies.

Visit national parks, go on cruises, take up gardening, learn a new language, volunteer at your church – the options are endless. Stay active mentally and physically in this new season of life. However, balance your free time wisely and beware of overindulgence.

As 1 Corinthians 6:12 says: “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial.”

Time with family and friends

One of the greatest blessings of retirement is having more time to spend with loved ones. Working adults often have limited time for family activities and connecting with friends due to busy schedules and job demands.

But retirement frees up your calendar to invest in relationships with the people who matter most. You can attend your grandkids’ sports games and school events, host family reunions, meet friends for weekly coffees, volunteer alongside your spouse, double date with other couples, and more.

Studies show that maintaining strong social connections leads to better health and happiness in retirement. So nurture your relationships well – they are key to enjoying this season of life. As Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”


In summary, while the Bible does not directly address retirement, there are many biblical principles that can guide decisions about saving, using gifts, caring for family, and enjoying rest in retirement years.

With wisdom and seeking God’s guidance, Christians can make decisions about retirement that honor God and serve others. While retirement provides more freedom and rest, believers should still seek to use their gifts and resources to further God’s kingdom.

Retirement can be a blessing, but wisdom and stewardship are needed to make the most of these years for God’s glory. By applying biblical values on stewardship, service, rest, and caring for family, Christians can make retirement not just an end, but a new beginning of joyfully serving the Lord.

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