Jimmy Carter is credited with having said, “Any man who says at age 60 he can do everything he could do at age 20, wasn’t doing much at 20.”

The body slows down; physical strength wanes. Yet the change is so slow that it is not noticeable even a year at a time, but in four decades there are changes that are foolish to ignore.

Each age has its compensations, we are told. While the 60-year old may not be able to do all he could at 20, there is still much that can be done. The older person, in fact, may be able to work smarter, if not harder. There is usually a lot of excess effort expended by the young, but seniors tend to make what they do count.

Caleb was 85 when he said he was just as strong as he had been at 40. He said to Joshua, “Lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain.”

Caleb is an inspiration to those nearing his age. We don’t have to give up just because we are seniors. We remember Caleb was one of the two faithful spies who came back with a positive report while the other ten brought back the evil report. “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it, for we be well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.” Age had nothing to do with the good and evil reports. It was the faith of Caleb and the lack of faith of the other 10 that made the difference.

Faith can make the difference in our lives, too, whatever age we may be. We can overcome if we put our faith and trust in God. If we look at the height of the giants of the land, however, we may wilt and give up as did the unfaithful spies. Do we believe in a “big God” and “little giants” as did Caleb, or do we believe in “big giants” and a “little God?”

We learn from the record in Joshua that Caleb was successful in taking the mountain that others feared because of his great faith, and the inheritance became his. “Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel.”

Caleb used his brain, as well as his brawn, for he was able to enlist a younger man, his nephew Othniel, to help him conquer the land. Can we inspire others to come and help us as we labor in the Lord’s work?

While we may not be able to do physically all that we did when we were younger, let us endeavor that as we age, we will stay as active in doing the Lord’s work as our strength will allow. We can also lead others to join in our common goal of following the Lord.

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

Robert J. Lloyd

* Click verse text to see cross references.
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