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I know I really need to exercise. My blood and my pulse — they don't really get going very fast as I sit many days doing my work, like right now sitting at a microphone. I think back on my favorite form of exercise from my childhood. I used to chug around on my bicycle when I was a little kid. And when I was little, it was for fun or just basic getting around.

But then it became a discipline — I had to get on my bike. And it was fun occasionally, especially when I sped down a nice long hill like we had near our house. When I did that I experienced a law at work that was responsible for the excitement. It's pretty simple. The closer I got to the bottom of the hill, the more I picked up speed.

Our word for today from the Word of God is from Joshua 14. Here's a man you would say was nearing the bottom of life's hill. This is Caleb; and he's 85 years old. Time to take a break, right? Well, listen to what he says. They are now in the Promised Land. He comes at the age of 85 to Joshua and says, "Now then, just as the Lord promised, He has kept me alive for 45 years since the time He said this to Moses while Israel moved about in the desert, so here I am today, 85 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, (those were giants, by the way) and their cities were large and fortified. But the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as He said."

Oh, by the way, that's exactly what 85-year-old Caleb did. As he nears the bottom of the hill of his life, he's picking up momentum like me on my bicycle. Now, most Americans are looking forward to this place on the horizon called retirement, and we talk about IRAs, our condo, our RV, and our favorite place to go and retire. Look, there's nothing wrong with retiring from your job, that's fine.

But I don't understand how you can retire from God's work. How can we retire from ministry? How can we retire from making a difference? How do you retire from Kingdom leadership, from reaching a lost world, from spiritual challenge? How do you retire from saying, "God, give me my mountain. Until the day I come to see You, I'm going to go after mountains for You." Sure, we may have physical limitations, but there's always a difference you can make for Him. I think Caleb gets not only the Senior Citizen of the Year award; he gets the Senior Citizen of the Centuries award. "Give me my mountain, Lord!"

 

Somehow we've allowed our potential Calebs to basically retire from the war, except to cut the church lawn, write some checks, or serve on a committee. But these are the people who may have much experience, who've got the most wisdom, who've walked with the Lord the longest. Older believers are sometimes almost programmed to fossilize at a time when they should energize. Sure, there could be physical limitations, but is there any such thing as retiring from active service; retiring from somehow making a difference for Christ?

The Chinese have an old proverb. They say, "To the foolish, old age is winter. To the wise, old age is harvest time." If you're an older believer or a veteran in the work of the church who feels like, "Well, I'll just let somebody else do it now" or you're somebody with physical limitations, don't just pull off the road as you get near the bottom of the hill. God may want to call you to a mission that will use your wisdom, your skills, and your experience that it took a lifetime to acquire.

One lifetime, no matter how long it is, is not enough to serve Christ. We only get one opportunity, one life. Use every day to the max! Look for a mountain; look for some giants to fight! And let your definition of retire change. Yeah, you should retire — you should “re-tire” — get a new set of tires on and drive faster and farther than ever before.

You should be picking up momentum as you get closer to the bottom of the hill.

 

© Ronald P. Hutchcraft 2019

 

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