Remember Caleb? Other than Joshua, Caleb is the only person left who fled from Egypt. He and Joshua spied out the land and told the people that with God’s blessings, they could be victorious. In today’s Bible reading*, rather than ask for an easy life at eighty-five years old, Caleb asks for the Hill Country where the giants lived. He claims that with God’s blessing, he will be able to defeat the giants. Caleb is as strong now as he was when he spied out the land forty-five years earlier.
It would have been easy for Caleb to ask for land that had already been captured. No one would have blamed this elderly man to ask for an easy retired life. After all, he had faithfully worked to ensure victory over their enemies.
But instead, he sees new challenges. And he wants the challenges of fighting the giants in the land. Did I mention he was eighty-five?
We in the Twenty-First Century Western Culture have a thing called “retirement”. Retirement is a time to kick back and take it easy. It’s a time to enjoy the fruits of our labors. As a financial planner says on our local radio station, retirement should let you relive adolescence without adult supervision.
But did you know that the Bible doesn’t know the concept of retirement? The Bible’s expectation is for us to live productive lives as long as we are able. One man in our church has taken retirement twice. And he just went back to work in his mid-eighties because he feels he still has more productive years left. Way to go!
Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with taking retirement, spending the remainder of your life spending time with kids and grandkids, and traveling. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of your labors. Retirement can be a time to do things that work never afforded you the time to do. There are lots of organizations — including your church — where your time, talents, and treasures can have a new lease on life to build the Kingdom of God.
If you have prepared for retirement and can afford to, enjoy your retirement! But know that as long as you have breath, you have a purpose.
So get out there and slay some giants while you still can!
* Chapters covered in today’s reading: