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Tag Archives: retirement

When You Reach the Top… There’s Nothing There

Shortly after the great flood depicted in Genesis 7:11-12, a new mindset began to form. Despite hitting the reset button, God could not prevent mankind from developing a desire to reach the heavens. Thus, like minded individuals began to congregate in the city of Babel. This idea inspired the construction of a great tower, seeking to reach the top of the world. Unfortunately, before this project was completed, a spirit of confusion was poured out upon Babel.

And they said, Come, let us build us a city and a tower whose top reaches into the sky, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered over the whole earth. 5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the Lord said, Behold, they are one people and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do, and now nothing they have imagined they can do will be impossible for them, Genesis 11:4-6.

Several thousands years later, order was restored on the Day of Pentecost. My initial question to this spiritual phenomena is why. Moses suggests that God was afraid that a united mankind could physically reach the heavens, making it to the top. Perhaps, an absence of trust and faith separated human beings from their true purpose on earth. Thus, Jesus’ ascension into heaven opens the door for an invisible presence to be introduced. To fulfill his promise in John 16:13, the Holy Spirit is unleashed in the middle of the first century.

And when the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place, 2 When suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled (diffused throughout their souls) with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other (different, foreign) languages (tongues), as the Spirit kept giving them clear and loud expression [in each tongue in appropriate words]. 5 Now there were then residing in Jerusalem Jews, devout and God-fearing men from every country under heaven. 6 And when this sound was heard, the multitude came together and they were astonished and bewildered, because each one heard them [the apostles] speaking in his own [particular] dialect, Acts 2:1-6.

When you ask world class athlete’s, business leaders and entrepreneurs about what it feels like to actually reach the top, considered the best in the world, responses are mixed. Some use this as an opportunity to retire on top. Others seek to become part of a destiny, hungry to set more records and reach new heights. However, many are filled with an emptiness as if to say, “is that it.” When accomplishments don’t fulfill the void in your heart, Jesus provides a spiritual alternative, John 10:10. May this season of Easter inspire you to replace your emptiness with purpose and meaning via faith.

by Jay Mankus

When Days Don’t End Like You Hoped

The endings of Hollywood movies have ingrained in American minds that life should conclude in a certain way.  Unfortunately, film and reality are miles apart.  Subsequently, more and more individuals feel the crippling effects of sleepless nights caused by days which end far from what each expected.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps, Proverbs 16:9.

After losing my teaching position 5 years ago, I transitioned into screen writing based upon the advice of a former co-worker.  Three complete scripts later my initial goal is to sell one my these scripts before I reach 55; then write a script a year in retirement.  Despite my desires, an unexpected eye condition may put my own plan on hold or cancel it completely.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, Matthew 11:28.

When things don’t go your way or days end in heart break, there’s only one place to turn.  Carrying around all your burdens, pain and worry will wear you out.  Therefore, do let trials suck out your joy for life.  Instead, go to the Lord in prayer so that Jesus will replace your burden with peace.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Life Without Sight?

When I first moved to Delaware, I worked 2 jobs and went back to school to try to finish my Masters in Theology.  After 2 successful years, I began to develop some eye issues.  Unfortunately, the strain on my eyes was too much as I was diagnosed with iritis 15 years ago.  While dropping out of school helped, its been a decade of ups and downs, unsure if my medication would improve my condition.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise, Jeremiah 17:4.

In the past 6 months, one of my eyes has been unresponsive for some reason.  Thus, I’m facing a dangerous scenario of either surgery or possible losing my sight in this eye.  For someone planning on writing a movie script per year in retirement, this is a major problem.  Thus, one has to wonder why this trial has knocked on my door.  This is where faith, science and the human body collide.

And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven, James 5:15.

Despite the odds confronting me, I am still holding out hope for a miracle.  As I wait a month for my next check up, all I can do is be a good patient by following my doctor’s instructions.  Meanwhile, I will lift my situation up to the great healer in the sky.  The anticipation and waiting will be tough, yet I serve a living God who has a record of restoring sight to the blind.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Family, Strangers and the Needy

The Bible kindly suggests that retirement is not an option, with always another calling to consider.  As life expectancy was altered following the introduction of sin by Adam and Eve, things changed.  Thus, as earth’s atmosphere shifted from an Open Canopy to what it is today after the flood, people needed to rely on families as age took its toll on human bodies.  Those without a family were at the mercy of strangers and the needy to survive.

When Naomi heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there, Ruth 1:6.

In the Old Testament, it was custom for harvesters to leave some of their crops for the poor.  Typically, the area along the edges of property lines was not picked clean, giving the less fortunate a place to pick up something to eat.  Thus, if you were desperate enough, this is where you would go if you wanted food.  Although times have changed, today individuals in need try to find a busy intersection where the wealthy may pass by in a nice vehicle.

And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter,” Ruth 2:2.

A modern parable of the Good Samaritan is written daily as those moved or touched stop to offer a couple of dollars here or there.  Yet, is this the right decision or should God’s people take a more proactive role?  Perhaps, taking this person to lunch like the Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 is a better alternative.  While this act of love is difficult for me, its what any loving family member would do for a relative.  Therefore, don’t just limit your kindness to those you know.  Rather, extend Christ’s love to strangers and the needy.

by Jay Mankus

On the Other Side of the Street

One of the cliches I heard way too often growing up was, “if the shoe fits wear it.”  I’m still not exactly sure where this phrase originated or what it’s intended purpose served, yet I have learned to distinguish my strengths from my weaknesses over time.  When it comes to death, dying, injuries and wheelchairs, I’m at a loss, leaving me uncomfortable and unqualified to handle these environments.

Perhaps, this may explain why God forced me to visit the other side of the street last week.  When you reach a certain age, suffer a debilitating  injury or endure an accident, these individuals all share something in common, they are helpless.  As you enter this arena, self sufficiency is no longer an option with souls needing another person to help them up, take their hand and nurture them back to health.  Normally a quick healer, this is mostly foreign to me except for a few broken bones here and a surgery there.

In biblical times, there were no nursing homes or retirement centers to spend your final years on earth.  Your destiny was determined by your family, their generosity and wealth necessary to provide affordable care.  As the modern family dissolves into some type of dysfunctional reality television show, its no wonder that the amount of beggars and homeless continue to increase, showing up at most busy intersections where I live.  Abandoned by their families, friends and employers, these desperate people are like prodigal sons and daughters waiting for their father to welcome them back home.  Until this day, those living on the other side of the street which need prayers, support and a helping hand to get them back on the road to recovery.

by Jay Mankus

A Grand Parent’s Prayer

One of my favorite movie lines comes from the 2005 documentary End of the Spear.  Based on the true story of Operation Auca, Jim Elliott and 4 other missionary’s lose their life trying to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Waodani, a dangerous tribe from Ecuador.  Violence had prevented these men and women from ever becoming grandparents.  However, once their fearless leader, Mincayani embraces a new found faith, “this vicious cycle is stopped through peace, not by the end of the spear.”

The author of Psalm 128 shares a similar message.  Inside this short chapter, you will find an outline for blessings and prosperity.  Verse 1 claims fearing the Lord will lead you toward God’s ways.  If this advice is adhered to, you will experience the abundance within the flood gates of heaven, Malachi 3:10.  Yet, many still struggle with surrounding their entire lives to Christ, holding things back like Achan in Joshua 7.  As a result of partial acts of disobedience, many Christian’s are failing to live the abundant life which Jesus promises in John 10:10.  Instead, mediocrity reigns, leaving disappointment and unfulfilled expectations behind.

In my own life, I sense a time in the future when I could possibly become a grandparent.  While my parent’s worked hard for 40 years to achieve a better life in retirement, my generation may not be as fortunate.  The economy, inflation and societal demands has erased the life savings of many.  Yet, one thing the desperate can cling to is a grandparent’s prayer, “and may you live to see your children’s children.  Peace be upon Israel,” Psalm 128:6.

by Jay Mankus

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