The Rich Man’s Retirement

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
The barkeeper had made his "pile," and was about to retire. There was a notice up in the "Bar" that it would "Change Hands" and be carried on by his successor on the "old lines." The last night of his occupancy had come, and a number of his "best customers" met in the "Bar" to drink the barkeeper's health in champagne. A motley group they were. Law clerks, book-makers, jockeys, coal heavers, and "gentlemen" of no particular occupation, were all there to wish the man whom they had enriched "goodbye" and "God-speed" as he passed into retirement. And so they drank his health and wished him happiness until the echoes rang. It was recorded as a "great success," and no doubt the devil agreed, for he knows how to dupe his slaves and lead them to their doom.
But God had something to say to that scene of godless mirth. The barkeeper was in his grave in less than a week from that hour. The "Bar" changed hands, and the man who had stood behind it, passed from the paradise of his retirement to "his own place" in the world beyond. This was not expected; it had not been taken into the reckoning in that last debauch. There was no "toast" to the lurking foe. Yet death's mark was on the rich man's brow. He was marked for doom, although he knew it not. So it may be, so it often is, with the world's most successful men. Like the farmer "fool" who had "made his pile," and whose folly the Lord records for all who follow in his steps (Luke 12:17-2117And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:17‑21)), many are reckoning on "many years" of ease and merriment here, while death crouches at their door. In a moment they are hurried from their gold, in all their guilt, into the eternal world. Yet how little effect their untimely end has on others! They soon forget it, and hasten along the same dark path toward the chasm that lies at its end.
Thus men and generations live and die, and the godless race for gold and gain, forgetting God, ignoring His claims, despising His warnings and denying His retribution, increases in rapidity as the years go by. It is an awful fact that men and women are passing into that world beyond, every hour and every minute—some when they least expect the call. The great thing is to be ready to meet God, ready to enter the eternity beyond.
Are you ready, reader? You should pause and reflect. You may be called at any hour, and once there, there is no return. You cannot undo the past then: you cannot alter your state or rescind the choice you made, the course you pursued while here on earth. If you live a Godless life, and die a Christ-less death, you will find yourself in an undone eternity. If you have been converted to God, turned to the Lord, as the result of receiving Christ (John 1:1212But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12)), and confessing Him as your Lord (Rom. 10:99That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9)), you will go to be "with Christ" (Phil. 1:2323For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: (Philippians 1:23)) hereafter. As the life now is, so shall the destiny be.
Remember, to die in sin is to remain "filthy still" (Rev. 22:1111He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (Revelation 22:11)). No grace to save, no blood to cleanse, no action of the Spirit to convict or sanctify, in the world to come. If you would be saved from sin's penalty, severed from sin's service and fitted for heaven's holy joy, all this must be done here: Thank God it can be, and to all who receive Christ, who believe the Gospel of Christ. which is "the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:1616For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)), it is a present reality, a joyful experience. Is it so with you, reader? Do you know God? Have you reckoned with Him about your sin? Do you know His forgiving grace, and the cleansing power of the blood of Christ. "The wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is Eternal Life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom. 6:2323For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23).