There was a period when people had one job or occupational situation throughout their work years, "put in their time" in that job or career, retired, and focused their remaining years on personal interests. Many of today's post-retirement people lived through that period and now spend their time in the semi-security of a planned retirement. For a few decades, it seemed as if this would be the common timetable for American expectations and lifestyles. What seemed a "solid" development became a mist. Yesterday's certainties are not today's options.

We are well served to recognize that former situation was a temporary period in ongoing American history. To younger adults who have known nothing but this opportune American situation, it seems a "forever" reality in our nation. To them, the American expectation "always" was finding a job or occupation, making "good money" with excellent benefits, staying with that job or occupation until "you put in your years," retiring in relative security, and using life and freedom after retirement as you choose.

Those now living in retirement years know that former generations never had those options. For earlier generations, there was no "good money" to be made, no benefits to enjoy, and no secure retirement available. Life after one retired commonly was frugal, restricted, and governed by the realities of poverty.

Transition continues in our society. Change is a fact of life. For the majority, the "one job or occupation throughout one's working years" is not an option. Today's excellent opportunity is often tomorrow's dead past. Anyone care to buy a mimeograph machine, a Kodak Instamatic camera, or an 8-track audio tape?

A secure retirement? In the future, what is that? When a company's retirement fund can be "raided," with the cost of our standard of living rapidly escalating, when a single medical procedure easily can cost tens of thousands of dollars, what is a "secure" retirement?

Every week I am reminded powerfully that the situation is changing dramatically and swiftly. Transitions effect people spiritually in their personal realities. Never has the "new wine" of God's glorious good news in Jesus' death and resurrection been more needed or relevant (Matthew 9:17). Those desperate for hope feel "locked in" seemingly endless struggles. Never have the hardened forms of "the old wine skins" threatened greater spiritual devastation in individual lives.

In no way should God's gospel through Jesus be changed. As we are true to God's gospel, Jesus challenges us to make God's good news hope-filled and helpful to the spiritually distressed. That challenge is quite real. The need is urgent.

Over a period of forty years of study and experience, I continually developed the skills God gave me to share His Word, priorities, and message. Now people's spiritual realities change rapidly and often dramatically. The same lesson that helps one group fails to provide meaningful help to others. Each group sincerely hungers and thirsts after righteousness. And I watch that reality, know it, and grieve because of it.

God is adequate for every existing spiritual need. So is Jesus. So is the gospel. May we have the wisdom to share with all in meaningful ways the God, Jesus, and gospel that is adequate for all forms of human spiritual need.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 2 December 2001

 Link to next article

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell