These words come from John Piper’s book, Let the Nation’s Be Glad, Chapter 3: The Supremacy of God in Missions through Suffering. In its context, Piper is not condemning the move to retire from paid labor. He is referring to the idea that the American perspective of happiness is to spend our latest days in life in leisure. His point is: our Sabbath will be for eternity. There is greater joy to be had in laboring for the Gospel unto the end of this life. Don’t stop at 60. See below:
“How many Christians set their sights on a ‘Sabbath evening’ of life – resting, playing, traveling, and so on – the world’s substitute for heaven, because they do not believe that there will be one beyond the grave. The mind-set is that we must reward ourselves in this life for our long years of labor. Eternal rest and joy after death is an irrelevant consideration. What a strange reward for a Christian to set his sights on! Twenty years of leisure while living in the midst of the last days of infinite consequence for millions of unreached people. What a tragic way to finish the last lap before entering the presence of the King who finished his so differently!
…An aging Christian once objected to John G Paton’s plan to go as a missionary to the South Sea Islands with the words, ‘You’ll be eaten by Cannibals!’ Paton responded:
Mr. Dickson, you are advanced in years now, and your own prospect is soon to be laid in the grave, there to be eaten by worms; I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by Canninbals or worms; and in the Great Day my resurrection body will arise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer.
When the world sees millions of ‘retired’ Christians pouring out the last drops of their lives with joy for the sake of unreached peoples and with a view toward heaven, then the supremacy of God will shine. He does not shine as brightly in the posh, leisure-soaked luxury condos on the outer rings of our cities.”