Until WWII, many Japanese believed the Emperor was a god. Japan’s Emperor Akihito is the current holder of the Chrysanthemum Throne, a dynasty that claims to be the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy (legend has it at ~2,600 years). These days, the position is mostly a figurehead, and no one calls the Emperor a god, but the monarchy remains central to Japan’s identity.
But Emperor Akihito has a problem. Run down from health issues and the demands of his job, at 82 years of age he wants to slow things down a bit. In fact, he would really like to do something that many people take for granted; he’d like to retire.
Unfortunately for Akihito, Japan’s laws don’t allow that! Neither can an Emperor make overtly political statements, such as, “please change the law to let me retire.” Stuck in a tough position, Akihito appealed directly to the people last week. In his address, he made his case, veiled as it was, that he should be allowed to abdicate his throne.
But, while Akihito would like to retire, he isn’t asking to quit.
Quitting is a far cry from retiring. Emperor Akihito doesn’t intend to do nothing. There are ways he wants to serve his people and tasks he has in mind. He simply believes that it is time to change his responsibilities and title. And well over 80% of Japanese agree he should be allowed.
Even God, the only, true God, the Creator of the Universe, rested (Genesis 2:1-3). Since then, matter and energy have been transformed, but no new creation has taken place. God stopped His task of creating and transitioned into a different role.
What about you, friend? Have you retired? Great! But don’t quit! You are never too old to do good works for God’s Kingdom. I hope you never think, “I don’t need to be vigilant in faith…I’m retired!” Responsibilities change, but there is always something we can do.
Jesus said, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” (John 5:17). Let’s follow Christ’s example and keep our efforts alive and well…even in retirement.