It surprises some to discover that retirement is not a biblical concept.
In his book, An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life, Jeff Hannan helps people make the most of what can be the most influential time of life. “People talk about retirement like it’s supposed to be an endless vacation—sandy beaches, social security benefits, unlimited possibilities.” But what if God is guiding you to a second vocation rather than an endless vacation?
Case in Point: Righteous Rides
After long careers in aerospace and automobile manufacturing, Mark Reighard and Bret Byus decided to do something they love for people they care about. It all began in the 1960s when Mark and Bret met in Sunday school and discovered their mutual love for all things mechanical. That love led them to LeTourneau University where Mark earned a degree in Materials Joining and Bret in Auto Technology. Rather than thinking about retirement as well-deserved leisure after years in the corporate world, they looked at life through the lens of vocation: what is God calling us to do?
In 2007, while still in their corporate jobs, Mark and Bret formed Righteous Rides, bringing together their love for cars, their business and technical expertise, and their passion to serve missionary families. In their experience with missionaries over the years, they identified a recurring problem and wanted to help: Missionaries need reliable transportation when they are back in the States on furlough.
As Mark tells the story, “We were sitting around one day, talking about what we could do that would use the skills God’s given us. Because of our friendship with missionaries, we knew there was a need for affordable, reliable transportation, so we said, 'Let’s buy a van and let them use it.'"
Fast forward 12 years. When I toured the Righteous Rides facility just outside St. Louis, Mark had recently left Boeing to serve as full-time Executive Director. When I stepped in the beautiful showroom it was clear their operation is first class.
Righteous Rides’ Vision is that every international missionary has access to affordable and stress-free stateside transportation.
Our Mission is to provide care and cars to missionaries on home assignment… in a manner worthy of God.
What does it mean to provide cars “in a manner worthy of God?” It means that Righteous Rides provides spotless, pristinely refurbished, reliable transportation ready for the road--insured, maintenance covered, backed with a 24-hour hotline and 10 hubs across the country. It also means each is family bathed in prayer, and when they pick up their van, it’s filled with care packages that include personalized backpacks for each child. As missionary families move from place to place, Mark said, "Nothing feels like home for the kids. We want them to know that this van is the one place that belongs to them while they are here in the States on furlough."
Righteous Rides has served over a thousand missionary families, from 125 different countries, who have logged 18 million miles in RR vehicles. A fleet of 149 Chrysler minivans transports families across the country.
Each year Righteous Rides receives hundreds of requests they cannot fill. They dream about a fleet of 4,000 to 5,000 vehicles. To learn more about Righteous Rides and how you can join their efforts by volunteering your skills (mechanical or otherwise), donating a vehicle for resale, or by a tax-deductible donation, visit the Righteous Rides website.
What About You?
So, what are you planning to do with what could be the most influential season of your life? Golf, the beach, and the mountains are great, but what is God calling you to invest your life in. For some, your greatest contribution to God's kingdom will be to continue right where you are serving Him in your workplace. For others it may be raising a grandchild or caring for aging parents. For those who have mandatory retirement or have the option not to earn a paycheck, possibilities abound as volunteers, entrepreneurs, mentors, and teachers.
It’s never too early to consider how you can best serve God. At the Center for Faith & Work, we're ready to help you think through the next season and chart the course ahead.
“Whatever you do,” Paul says, “whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17).