Why I Won't Retire

Joy: Welcome to Asked and Answered, the podcast series that answers all of your missions-related questions. With me in the studio today are Ron and Charis Pearce. Welcome, guys!

Ron, Charis: Hello, Joy.

Joy: Ok, so Ron, I have a question that pertains particularly to you, just to you actually. When are you going to retire?

Ron: {laughter}

Joy: Can I put it any more plainly? I happen to know you get asked that, a few times. {laughter}

Ron: Just yesterday I had a pastor down in the States give me a call and ask me basically the same question. He said he just listened to a video, I guess.

Joy: We do have a video on our website about this very topic, but I just thought it would be fun to pick his brain.

Ron: Yeah, so he just dropped it on me, and I get asked by pastors and various people all the time.

Joy: Is it because you are getting a little older? {laughter} Maybe not, I’m just wondering.

Ron: I’m not old! {laughter}. Let’s just be honest here, I don’t believe in retirement as such, for myself. For everyone else? It’s fantastic! God bless them. They have worked hard, they have done a wonderful thing, age 65 came or earlier and they said that is enough, I don’t want to do this work anymore. I want to do this work. I don’t want to stop, and I don’t know why I have to just because there is a rule out there that you are supposed to hang it up. Bluntly, there are too many people around the world who don’t know Jesus yet. And it’s a simple matter that I have the energy that God has given me and the health and everything like that, and the ability and the, what shall we say, I hate to say wisdom because it sounds sort of self-serving.

Joy: You have some wisdom.

Charis: Years of experience! {laughter}

Ron: Years of experience! Thank you, Charis, you put the right words in me. I’ve got the years of experience behind me to sort of know what is going on and why would I put that up on the shelf right now when I could do more? So, I have decided that what I am going to do is obviously slow down as I get older. Airplane rides are not as fun as they used to be.

Joy: Did they used to be fun?

Ron: Yeah, at the beginning.

Charis: Jet lag takes a little bit more time for you to get over now.

Ron: Yeah, jet lag takes a little bit more time. It’s a matter just of slowing down as I age but there is nothing on the horizon as far as a date or anything of that nature. I’m just going to keep going, and it’s a sheer matter of numbers. How many people can we get into heaven before the end comes? That’s all it is! So, I don’t want to be regretting that I didn’t stay in longer to bring in as many as possible.

Charis: The other day in the office, I remember you saying, this is the most exciting time!” and you don’t want to leave yet.

Ron: Oh yeah, we have never seen this many people coming to Christ with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit around the world. This is what we have been praying for, hoping for, believing God for, and now it’s here. And it’s just a matter of the recording we just did here, we are riding the wave.

Joy: It’s the new metaphor that we are using, we’re sticking with it!

Ron: The new metaphor, yeah, ok, let me change the metaphor. We are in Hawaii, we’ve got this great big wave coming in, I’m on a surfboard. Why in the world would I want to get off the surfboard when this is the wave of a lifetime that is hitting the shores? These are good times!

Joy: I mean, especially when you think of Israel because Israel right now is doing things that you have never seen before!

Ron: No, nobody ever imagined this was going on. We have never imagined the pressures of global disasters and nuclear weapons and the threat of wars and rumors of wars and all of that, we are living through it! And this is really the best of times!

Joy: It keeps you young, this threat of nuclear war.

Ron: Oh yeah, and therefore, sure, uh, what could I do? I could go down to Florida and sit on a beach there.

Joy: That’s my husband’s plan {laughter}

Ron: Is it? Oh no, no, that is the worst-case scenario for me, is to go down and sit around and do nothing. I would be so antsy I couldn’t do it! So, Nancy, my wife Nancy basically has the same sort of idea. She has never stated it publicly, but she has cut me loose over the years to do what I do.

Joy: That is actually an important thing to mention, that’s great.

Ron: Oh, it’s huge! Because retirement is not just one person retiring, it’s a couple, it’s a family-ish sort of situation, and everybody has given me the latitude and the blessing to keep going. So, it’s not even on the table for discussion, we are just going to do it!

Joy: Charis, how do you feel about this non-retirement?

Charis: Oh no, I think it’s great! I mean, dad’s phrase that he always says, which I’m sure many people have heard already, is that he wants to arrive in heaven tired. Tired with the work that he has done for the Lord. And I mean, he’s doing it, you’re working hard!

Ron: One brother overseas, he heard how many trips I’m making, how much I’m speaking, writing, and all these sorts of things, and he says you’re not twenty-eight anymore. And I said no, I’m not, and I said, I’ve cut back by a good ten percent, and he laughed and must have thought, ok, I can see where this is going. So, I get cautionary things, sort of like, you’ve got to slow down. Yeah, the Lord will slow me down.

We have never imagined the pressures of global disasters and nuclear weapons and the threat of wars and rumors of wars and all of that, we are living through it!

Charis: The other day in the office, I remember you saying, this is the most exciting time!” and you don’t want to leave yet.

Ron: Oh yeah, we have never seen this many people coming to Christ with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit around the world. This is what we have been praying for, hoping for, believing God for, and now it’s here. And it’s just a matter of the recording we just did here, we are riding the wave.

Joy: It’s the new metaphor that we are using, we’re sticking with it!

Ron: The new metaphor, yeah, ok, let me change the metaphor. We are in Hawaii, we’ve got this great big wave coming in, I’m on a surfboard. Why in the world would I want to get off the surfboard when this is the wave of a lifetime that is hitting the shores? These are good times!

Joy: I mean, especially when you think of Israel because Israel right now is doing things that you have never seen before!

Ron: No, nobody ever imagined this was going on. We’ve never imagined the world religions falling apart in the way that they are right now. We have never imagined the pressures of global disasters and nuclear weapons and the threat of wars and rumors of wars and all of that, we are living through it!! And this is really the best of times!

Joy: It keeps you young, this threat of nuclear war.

Ron: Oh yeah, and therefore, sure, uh, what could I do? I could go down to Florida and sit on a beach there.

Joy: That’s my husband’s plan {laughter}

Ron: Is it? Oh no, no, that is the worst-case scenario for me, is to go down and sit around and do nothing. I would be so antsy I couldn’t do it! So, Nancy, my wife Nancy basically has the same sort of idea. She has never stated it publicly, but she has cut me loose over the years to do what I do.

Joy: That is actually an important thing to mention, that’s great.

Ron: Oh, it’s huge! Because retirement is not just one person retiring, it’s a couple, it’s a family-ish sort of situation, and everybody has given me the latitude and the blessing to keep going. So, it’s not even on the table for discussion, we are just going to do it!

Joy: Charis, how do you feel about this non-retirement?

Charis: Oh no, I think it’s great! I mean, dad’s phrase that he always says, which I’m sure many people have heard already, is that he wants to arrive in heaven tired. Tired with the work that he has done for the Lord. And I mean, he’s doing it, you’re working hard!

Ron: One brother overseas, he heard how many trips I’m making, how much I’m speaking, writing, and all these sorts of things, and he says you’re not twenty-eight anymore. And I said no, I’m not, and I said, I’ve cut back by a good ten percent, and he laughed and must have thought, ok, I can see where this is going. So, I get cautionary things, sort of like, you’ve got to slow down. Yeah, the Lord will slow me down.

Joy: I’ve seen your calendar; you have not slowed down.

Charis: The other thing too is that the leaders of the church planting movements that we work with around the world, they’re not slowing down either. They are all getting older, but they don’t have plans of retiring and going to a beach.

Ron: In fact, Char, you can help me with this, but I can’t picture in my mind one of our major church planting operations in all these countries where anybody has retired.

Charis: Actually, just before I was trying to think through, and there is not one.

Ron: There is not one. So, we’ve got guys in their seventies, we’ve got guys in their eighties. Actually, they are in ministry, and then we hear about their obituaries coming up. Basically, they died in their boots!

Charis: Yup, in their ministry.

Joy: In their glory of serving the Lord.

Ron: And therefore, they just do that, and so why should I be any different than them? There is no difference, and so that is why, and I’d also like to, this is probably not going to sound right, I’d also like to set an example for younger pastors, sort of like, this is not a job, this is a calling, it’s a ministry, people’s lives are at stake, and therefore we operate under a few different rules and I would like to, rather than preach that, I would like to demonstrate that. I think that is the best way to do it. Because you can get up there and you can preach a lot, and there are all sorts of great pastors who have retired and are doing other things and that is wonderful. In my estimation, I can keep going, and therefore I will keep going.

Joy: Ok, listeners, so we mentioned earlier that there is a video about this, and I have to say it’s my favorite video of you, and if you haven’t watched it, you need to because at the end Ron just brings it right home in such a powerful way. Thanks, guys!

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