I have heard several pastors lately talk about retirement not being a Biblical practice, that we should never get so old that we stop sharing our faith, being active, and participating in the community. Personally I think these pastors have never met my grandparents. Grandma and Grandpa Soard have been retired for a while now and we are all still waiting for them to slow down. I think the crux of all of this is how involved we chose to be in our communities after the time when we stop working and “contributing” to society in the way that society sees as most productive. I have been privileged to know many people of retirement age, even those that have retired from a professional job, but that have not stopped sharing, being part of the community, and working to make the world around them a more love filled place.
Benard Anigra, one of the local pastors I get to work with is one such person. I have personally had the privilege to sit at his metaphorical feet and learn from his experience of applying scripture to his life and finding ways to live as a servant of God. He is approaching retirement age yet he is still working hard to raise his children well, grow spirit-filled Christians in his church, build a house, and he wants to start school to become a better pastor. He is showing no signs of slowing down or going into retirement. His latest plan is making bricks. He hopes to sell them to help pay for his upcoming wedding.
It is common here for people to become husband and wife without having a formal wedding either in the church or in front of the local government. One day they just start living together. Benard and his wife have always been faithful to each other and are raising their children in a great home, but they have never had a chance for their wedding to be blessed in front of God and the church. When Benard talks about the wedding, what they want to do, and why he is willing to work so hard to through an expensive wedding when he has already been with his wife for so many years, you can hear the love he has for his wife and family come out.
Benard remains an inspiring person and someone that makes me a little less afraid of growing up (a secret fear of mine). Maybe someday I can be just like him. Watch the video below to see a little of the craziness that is this pastor. He is the one dancing and his wife is the solo singer.