Jump Start # 2662
Joshua 14:10 “Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today.”
I had a birthday last week. It wasn’t one of the big milestone ones. It was just a regular birthday. It’s funny how you look at things through the years. When you are young, birthdays are about presents, cake and a party. Years pass by. The presents don’t mean so much. Parties don’t happen. Cake is still important. And, for many, they dread another number added to their years. But it’s just a number. And, the value of life is not in how long you live, but in what you do with those years. Some folks could live as long as ole’ Methushael, and still waste time and opportunity. Some only live for themselves. Some abuse the time God gives them.
Our verse today are the words of Caleb. It was his birthday. He was 85 years old. And, what had he planned? He wanted a hill that was promised long ago to him. That particular hill was filled with Anakim who had fortified cities. This must have been a massive hill. Caleb wanted it. His intentions were to go up the hill and drive out the enemy. At 85, he was heading to battle. He wasn’t through. He wasn’t waiting for the Lord to come and take him. Not Caleb. Sword in one hand and I expect a staff in the other, that old man was forging onward.
And, the next chapter reveals to us that Caleb did not die in battle. He was successful. He drove out the enemy. A champion to the very end.
Not many of us at 85 are thinking about climbing hills, let alone, going into battle with a fierce enemy. But, I wonder how many have already punched their ticket for Heaven and they spend their days watching mindless TV and not doing much.
Some lessons for us:
First, taking care of ourselves when we are younger puts us in a better position when we are older. This is true physically. This is true financially. This is true spiritually. Some are in a mess when they are old because of the choices when they were younger. This wasn’t Caleb’s first battle. This wasn’t the first time he trusted in God. This wasn’t the first time that he wrapped himself in courage and faith. The choices of a young Caleb molded and shaped the old Caleb.
Second, we must not stop until the Lord stops us. Age, health, ability, having a ready mind may force us to make some changes, but Caleb took on a new task at 85. Maybe for us, as we age, it’s moving into a mentoring position to guide those younger than we are. Maybe it’s more writing and less audible teaching. Maybe it’s helping those in foreign countries. Maybe it’s being a financial backing to those who go overseas. Maybe it’s helping a small congregation. The kingdom is too large and the work is too great for us to stop.
It is disturbing to see so many view the retirement period as a perpetual play time. Nothing wrong with slowing down. Nothing wrong with doing some travel. But don’t leave the kingdom in your rear view mirror. Your position in life, with experience, resources and time allows you to do what others cannot. The kingdom needs you.
Third, the work that we do for the Lord will be the greatest thing we ever do. Nothing surpasses kingdom work. Nothing is more important than molding lives for eternity. Look beyond the doors of your own congregation. The kingdom is worldwide. You are needed and you can add so much if you put some thought to that. Take a vacation to help a congregation. Take a vacation to attend a lectureship or Gospel meeting.
The words of the Lord to the five talent man ring ever true, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The question to be asked is, “What have I done for the Lord?” Is my answer all in past tense? Am I doing anything now for the kingdom?
Caleb on his birthday said, “give me this hill.” What a spirit. What a faith. What a hero. What a God!
Thanks to Wilson Adams for presenting this idea in our Summer Series. You’d do well to go to our website (www.charlestownroad.org) and listen to “When my journey comes to an end.” It’ll touch you, change you and challenge you.