Summary: There are many great starters - not enough who finish well.
29, September 2002
Dakota Community Church
All The Kings Men
Part: 4 – Elders
You do not break Gods word – you break yourself on it!
Don’t be discouraged men this is the reward week – the beating is over – here now is the payoff!
Seriously do not take condemnation from anything - be challenged, encouraged – God is not asking you to do anything he has not equipped you to do!
Wisdom doesn’t automatically come with old age. Nothing does -- except wrinkles. It’s true some wines improve with age, but only if the grapes were good in the first place. Abigail Van Buren, Chicago Tribute-New York News Syndicate, quoted in Reader’s Digest, May 1980.
1. MAINTAIN A YOUTHFUL HEART.
12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, "The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him."
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
This is all about attitude!
a) Stay teachable.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was and still is generally regarded as one of the most outstanding justices in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was known as the Great Dissenter because he disagreed with the other judges so much. Holmes sat on the Supreme Court until he was 91. Two years later, President Roosevelt visited him and found him reading Plato. "Why?" FDR asked. "To improve my mind," Holmes answered.
b) Keep teaching.
15 Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.
c) Keep dreaming.
d) Keep seeking. (Pursuit)
History records that many people made some of their greatest contributions to society after the age of 65. The Earl of Halsburg, for example, was 90 when he began preparing a 20- volume revision of English law. Goethe wrote Faust at 82. Galileo made his greatest discovery when he was 73. At 69, Hudson Taylor was still vigorously working on the mission field, opening up new territories in Indochina. And when Caleb was 85, he took the stronghold of the giants.
e) Keep fighting.
6 Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ’The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.’ 
10 "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 desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 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. 12 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."
13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.
2. DETERMINE TO FINISH WELL.
7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.
God never intends for us to retire from spiritual activity. The Bible says we can "still bring forth fruit in old age." Even as Jesus kept the "best wine" for the last at the wedding in Cana (John 2:10), so He seeks to gather the most luscious clusters of the fruit of the Spirit from the fully ripened harvest of our lives. You may be sure God wouldn’t keep you on this earth if He didn’t have a worthwhile ministry for you to accomplish. So keep on serving the Lord!