When I appeared last Monday in the chamber of the sala of brilliant (RTC) Judge Dax Gonzaga Xenos of Panabo City, Philippines, he posed to me the question, “Sir, are you not considering to retire?” I politely retorted, I will just “slow down”, and related that all retirees I know who abruptly retired and stopped their usual daily routine die earlier. I specifically gave the example of my assistant stenographer-typist in the Leopoldo M. Abellera Law Office (the classmate of President Ferdinand Marcos) in the late 50’s who became also a lawyer, and who later became a National Labor Relations Commissioner (NLRC) assigned at Cagayan de Oro Mindanao Station, who retired at age 65, and totally stopped doing anything but to enjoy his retirement pay and retired life, but died within the year. The Judge has no grey hair, so he addresses me Sir. This is not the first time that he talked to me because I have a number of cases before him, and during pre-trial conferences of the cases, we would see and talk to each other. I feel awkward and somewhat “ashamed” every time I hear him address me “Sir”. I feel I don’t deserve it because of his stature and position.
In the story of creation, God established a pattern of work and rest, which is a model for all of human beings. For six days God worked to complete His creation of all that is in the world and bring order to our world. But on the seventh day, after He had finished all His creative activity, He rested. God demonstrated that rest is appropriate, needed, right and necessary. If our immortal God rested after his work, how much more for us – mortals – and just one among His creations? But man is God’s very special and highest and best creation, after his own image. One who could fellowship with Him and worship Him.
When I became a husband to my wife, I wished that our first child should be a boy and will look like me (or one after my own image). God partially granted my heart’s desire that our first child named Susan (after Susan Roces, then the favorite actress in Philippine cinema) according to many is my “look alike”. She became a lawyer like me, but she is more successful in passing the bar examination in 1991 because she landed number nine out of 3,194 examinees that took the exam that year, or only 17.8% passed.
His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, showed us the importance of rest when He sat wearily beside a well after a long walk (John 4:6) and when He slept in the boat with His disciples (Mark 4:38). He also rested when He and His disciples got away from the crowds (Mark 6:31-32).
If the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, rested from His earthly ministry, we, His creation (John 1:3) need also to rest from our work as well. Some, if not many, however, rest too long and too often, and these become poor and destitute, for it is written, “The hand of the diligent maketh rich, but the slothful [or “tamad” in Filipino language] become poor” (Prov. 10:4). In another rendition, “He becometh poor that dealeth with slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich” (KJV). The Wise King Solomon further said, “The soul of the sluggard desireth and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat” [or shall prosper] (Prov. 13:4 KJV). And he went on to say, “Seest thou a man diligent (or hardworking) in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean (or obscure) men” (Prov. 22:29 KJV).
I remember when I was President of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce in 2005 – 2007, ten of our selected officers and members (including myself) conferred and dined with former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at the conference Hall of Marco Polo in Davao City. To mention some of the significant personalities, John Y. Gaisano, of the Gaisano City Mall of Davao, Atty. Lorenzo of the banana industry, Father Samson, then the President of the Ateneo de Davao University.
You want to prosper beyond measure? Be diligent or hardworking in your business, but be sure take a rest so you will enjoy at least a three score and ten life span. Our times of rest refresh us for times of service.
If our body, soul, and spirit are to function at their best, time of rest is needed to renew our strength. Even machines have to rest, otherwise it will wear out easily and very soon. Our life existence and activities is not just for a 100-meter dash, it is a three score and ten (Psalm 90:10 [70 years]) marathon or even more (fourscore) if we live according to God’s prescribed rules on activities, food, righteous living, and enough rest. You will not be out of “market” because remember at seventy or beyond, if you were diligent in your business like Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and retired Supreme Court Justice Serafin Cuevas, you would have enough and vast experience in life. “Experience is the best teacher”.
The great leader Moses was commissioned by God at eighty years old to liberate the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. He effectively worked for another forty years. Abraham the great patriarch of the Israelites was commissioned by God at age seventy-five to lead his chosen people. Caleb at age eighty-five said that he was as strong as when he was forty-five years old. These leaders never retired: they merely slowed down lived prosperously up to the end of their lives.
FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, February 23, 2013