As I write this, I’m now in my 70s and depending on your perspective, there are a couple of different ways to take that statement.
First, many younger people would think, “Wow! That’s old!” Some of them might tend to write off someone my age as being feeble, senile, forgetful, fuddy-duddy, “shelved,” “past the expiration date,” or something else useless.
Others more my contemporary might say with a sense of futility, “Seventies, huh? Welcome to the club. Now you can retire, live on a fixed income, take lots of medications, and sit around swapping stories about what ails you.” They see growing old as the inevitable bummer of life.
I’ve begun to realize that in our culture, one of worst prospects of growing old is becoming invisible. By “invisible” I mean is that old people don’t seem to matter. Others don’t seem to notice them. Their ideas and views no longer carry weight. We don’t see the elderly as the building blocks of a church, a business, or even a family. We tend to feel sorry for them. They’re consigned to a soft chair in the corner.
I have other plans for growing old when I do. I want to grow old like Caleb. Only Caleb and Joshua had a vision and faith for what God wanted Israel to do: go in and take the land of Canaan. Sadly, because they were in the minority, the majority overruled them. And so, along with the entire vast company of Israel, Caleb and Joshua had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years—because of someone else’s sin and lack of faith!
But Joshua and Caleb didn’t let that minor setback (40 years) change their view of God or of themselves. Here’s Caleb’s testimony at the age of 85:
Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here 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 that the LORD promised me that day. 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. (Joshua 14:10-12)
Wow! No soft chair in the corner for Caleb! By Caleb’s own admission, God did this for him. Following Jesus and trusting God doesn’t guarantee long life and robust health. But it does guarantee a life worth living, a life of meaning and purpose, a life devoted to serving Christ and others. That’s why I want to grow old like Caleb!
Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:7-14 (Paul was old when he wrote this.)
In what ways did today’s devotional speak to you? What action will you take because of being reminded of these things?
Jim Grassi, D. Min. and Wendell Morton
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5