I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me… I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country…. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said. ….So Hebron has belonged to Caleb…ever since, because he followed the LORD…wholeheartedly. Joshua 14:7,10-12,14
Momofuku Ando – invented instant ramen noodles at 61 years old (Who would have made it through college without that!?)
Colonel Sanders – started KFC at 65
John Glenn – went to space at 77
Grandma Moses – one of the countries most famous painters painted her first painting at age 76 because arthritis had crippled her hands so that she could no longer embroider. (There’s lemonade made from lemons for you!)
Peter Roget – invented the thesaurus at 73
Noah Webster – completed his American dictionary at 66
Ben Franklin – signed the declaration of independence at 70
Julia Child – began her cooking show at 51 (Hope! I might still be able to learn to boil water without if overflowing!)
Ronald Reagan – entered politics at 55
Nelson Mandela – elected President of South Africa at 75
Like Caleb in the race of life these people knew that the last leg in a race well run is always run the fastest… its when you kick it into high gear! In life it makes sense… why not let the last leg be when you kick it into high gear?! You have the most knowledge and life learned and earned wisdom and experience to share!
Having just had a birthday myself (ticking up another decade) I find Caleb’s take on life intriguing. “God I’m 85— (or insert your own age) bring it on! Bring on the next mountain Lord! I’m still strong and vigorous as ever for You! With You helping me nothing is impossible! I’m 85 (–) here am I, send me!” (Phil. 4:13, Is. 6:8) At 85 there was no thought of slowing down or retiring from a life of service entering his mind…he was doing the opposite and trying to convince God he still had fight left in Him! Like an injured athlete trying to convince the coach to just let him on the field anyway!
As long as a candle has a wick it burns. We are all called, no matter what our age, to be a light for Him. (Matthew 5:14,16)
Lord as long as I have breath let me burn with a passion for You that cannot be contained! (Jer. 23:29, Jer. 20:9) Do not let work become my identity but let my identity in You be the reason I work. I want to live for You not for the vacation. (Nothing wrong with vacations its just that a Sabbath isn’t really a Sabbath unless I was working the day before right!) Don’t let what I hope for, cause me to miss what I was born for. Your Word says, Be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning. Luke 12:35
For most of us this is a mindset that has to be prayed for and intentionally lived out because its not easy, the way is actually very narrow, we will need to continuously “make every effort” to enter it. (Luke 13:24) I didn’t say earn it, I said enter it. We are all freely welcome, John 14:6 says Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life and no one gets in but through Him. John 3:16 says, whoever believes in Him will not die but have eternal life. Jesus is the only Way. Let’s not make it complicated trying to add our own ways. Pray we run fast, but in the right direction.
God has a specific plan for every life He creates (Eph. 2:10) and He knows its not always easy. It wasn’t easy for Jesus when He walked this earth. Luke 13:31-32 states, At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” (Pretty discouraging right?! Enough to make most of us want to just retire… start living for what we “hope” for rather than what we were born for, right?! Not Jesus.) He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ Wow! Jesus is quite a guy, brave is not a big enough word! He kept His eyes on the goal and would not be dissuaded, He was on mission to save the world… and He did.
Where are our eyes fixed? What’s our life goal? Is it what you hope for or what you were born for? Maybe they can be one and the same if you allow Him to transform you by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). Let’s be a people dressed and ready, shouting, “Lord, I’m (—) years old but bring on the next mountain! I want to follow You wholeheartedly like Caleb and finish my race faster than when I started!!”
I want to thank all the people that run their life’s race like a Caleb for me to witness and be encouraged by. Some are in heaven already, some of you are younger than I, some older, some probably don’t realize you are a “Caleb” for me, but all I consider a mighty leader with a faith I’d like to imitate as Hebrews 13:7 states, Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Let your light shine all the way until the wick runs out and not a moment before! Here am I, send me!
Independent Read: Psalm 16:11, 2 Chronicles 16:9, Hebrews 12:2, Matthew 9:38