Summary: Caleb is an example of a senior citizen that kept the zing in life. At 85 he was ready to take on giants for the Lord.
KEEPING THE ZING IN LIFE
Romans 12:11 “Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord with enthusiasm.”
When I think of ZEST I think of Caleb said to Joshua, “Give me this hill country- Anakites the giants live there – The Lord helping me I will drive them out.” Then a commentary is given of Caleb: “He followed the Lord God of Israel wholeheartedly.”
I pray that all of us will keep the zing and zest in our life and when we come to retirement years or are in retirement years we will live in the spirit and lifestyle of Caleb. “The Lord helping me I will live in victory.” “I will serve the Lord wholeheartedly.” “Until I take my last breath I will give of my best to the Master.”
At 85 Caleb was open to a new challenge. He had been faithful to the Lord during the 40 years of wondering. He must have been 45 years old when he started the 40 years of desert living. He didn’t become bitter when the minority report he and Joshua gave was rejected. For 40 years he looked forward to completing the mission God had given him.
#Ray Crist, a retired scientist started teaching at Messiah College near Harrisburg in 1970. He put down his pointer in the class room at age 104. He started at Messiah at the age of 70 after a career in science and a decade of teaching at Dickinson University. When he left Messiah College at 104 he planned to work on his latest research project “To explain how plants absorb toxic metals and thereby clean the soil.”
When I served as Superintendent in Florida for 8 years Carollyn and I attended an adult Christmas party at the St. Petersburg FMC and were awarded the prize for the youngest couple. The next oldest couple was Rev. Lucien and Molly Behar the pastor and spouse of the church.
When we moved to Florida we were told there were two types of people in Florida – the newly wed and the nearly dead. I noted at that time the average age in Bradenton, Fl was 55.
I met with one of the local churches to assist the pastor in doing some planning. I sat around the table with the church board – mostly retires – snow birds from the North. We talked about possible strategies for growth. They were complaining they had no young families with small children.
I asked them if they had a church nursery. They said that they didn’t need a Nursery area because they didn’t have any babies. I suggested they look all the ways they could get ready for company. One way was to get a nursery ready with nursery helpers.
One of the members on the church board from Michigan said. The plans sounded great and he would have jumped at the chance to help out twenty years ago. But now in his retirement years he was only in the church six months out of the year and wouldn’t be that much help.
When you have the spirit of Caleb you are willing to give of your best. You become a mover rather than a blocker.
The story is told of a man who rode in his car as it was being towed to be repaired. When they arrived at the repair shop, the tow truck driver told him, “I didn’t think I was going to make it up that big hill.” The man replied, “I didn’t either, that’s why I kept the break on so we wouldn’t roll backwards.”
God is looking for retirees who will step on the accelerator rather than the brake in stepping out in faith. “The Lord helping us we will have victory.”
In his book “One Crowded Hour,” Tim Bowden describes an incident in Borneo in 1964. Nepalese fighters known as Gurkhas were asked if they would be willing to jump from airplanes into combat against the Indonesians. The Gurkhas didn’t clearly understand what was involved, but they bravely said they would do it, asking only that the planes fly slowly over a swampy area no higher than 100 feet. When they were told that the parachutes would not have time to open at that heights, the Gurkhas replied, “Oh, you didn’t mention parachutes before!”
That the kind of adventurous spirit that Caleb possessed.
Caleb was a dreamer. Joel prophesied that “old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” (Joel 2:28b)
At 85 Caleb could still dream. From the life of Caleb we learn that:
You are never too old to dream.
At 85 most people aren’t thinking about starting out on a new venture. At 85 many people have pulled over and parked. Theiy are thinking more about dying than living.