Now, as you can see, the Lord has kept me alive and well as he promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise—even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. (Joshua 14:10-11)
Relate: Imagine working a recruitment office for the army sometime in the late 30’s. Everybody knows we’re going to war against Hitler, but we aren’t sure just when. Elite volunteers have already been sent off to join the British army but we’re mobilizing our own as well. We’ll take just about anybody, but this guy before you is pushing those limits. He looks to be mid sixties maybe but his birth certificate says he’s even older. No way he’s getting in a uniform. He pleads his case saying he can see just as fine as ever and runs every day. He says what he might lack in “vim and vigor” he makes up in experience since he fought in Cuba, the Philippines, and France. As a wisecrack you ask if he was a drummer boy in the Civil War. He answers deadpan, “No, but my older brother was.” You know you’re going to get in trouble for this one but you do it anyways, you have a quota to make. Someone in some office is going to have a heart attack over it. On the bottom of his application the stamp reads, “approved”.
Ever use a thesaurus? Odds are it said, “Rogets” on the front of it. The only reason he began working on the first one was because he was forced to retire from the Royal Society at 70. The first thesaurus was published when he was 73 and he kept improving and updating them until he died 17 years later. One of America’s greatest painters, Grandma Moses, didn’t pick up a paintbrush until she was 76 and told she was too old to continue her career in embroidery. A traveling salesman sold 10 multimixers to Maurice and Richard McDonald who owned a couple burger joints in California and Arizona. To sell more mixers he tried convincing them they should go national. They said they would if he helped them manage the new stores. At 52 Ray Kroc became the manager and at 59 the sole owner of this little burger joint you might have heard of called McDonalds.
Relate: Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in children’s, youth, and college ministries for so long that I always push the young ones to expect, dream and do greater things for God. Paul tells Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because he is young. As much as we have far too low expectations for children and teens today, we do the same on the other end of the spectrum. Nelson Mandela becoming president at 76 is a rarity in our day. For the most part we expect our senior saints to leave the workforce sometime between 55 and 65, possibly move south, and enjoy the fruits of their labor living off their pensions and social security. No. No! A thousand times no. Somewhere out there is a man like Moses who at 80 confronted the greatest power in the world and said, “Let my people go!” 27 million are desperately waiting for him. Somewhere there is another Caleb who at 85 said, “There is more land to take. There is another battle to fight. There is another victory for God ahead and I’m ready to take it!” Until my last breath exits my body, let me never stop working for God with everything I have in me.
God, let me not look back at what I could have done but instead look forward at what I still can do. Rather than dreaming of what might have been help me to have visions of what might become. Give me greater dreams and goals for my present and future. Show me the battles You would have me fight and give me the strength of will, mind, and body to continue fighting them for all the days You have for me