Ellen Snyder: Hope for Retirement (Video)

Jeff Haanen

When Ellen Synder was 65, she and her husband retired and moved to Arizona. But the golf, long lunches, and games of bridge left her feeling empty. She returned to Colorado, wondering if God had another purpose for her retirement. In her late 70s Ellen heard God's call to serve. Watch Ellen's story (4:57). 

Are you nearing retirement or already retired? Do you wonder what purpose God might have for your retirement? Take a moment to discuss some of these questions with friends or family: 

(1) What do you think motivated Ellen to keep working as a volunteer even into her 90s?

(2) Many of Ellen’s friends decided to play golf and bridge with their retirement.  What do you think made Ellen uneasy about a life of leisure?

(3) Ellen felt God calling her to serve as a volunteer at the St. Francis Center after she returned from Arizona, but she resisted the idea because she didn’t want to drive downtown. Are there things you believe God is calling you to do but you’ve resisted because it’ll be challenging? 

(4) Do you have a vision for how you might continue serving God with your skills and talents in retirement, whether through paid or unpaid work?

(5) What do you think needs to be challenged about contemporary views of retirement? 

(6) For you, what does it mean to “love your neighbor as yourself” until your very last day?


Jeff Haanen

Jeff Haanen is a writer and entrepreneur. He founded Denver Institute for Faith & Work, a community of conveners, teachers and learners offering experiences and educational resources on the gospel, work, and community renewal. He is the author of An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life and an upcoming two-book series on spiritual formation, vocation, and the working class for Intervarsity Press. He lives with his wife and four daughters in Denver and attends Wellspring Church in Englewood, Colorado.