Monday, March 25, 2013

Lord Give Me a Mountain

By Don Campbell
    John Piper wrote: “Finishing life to the glory of Christ means resolutely resisting the typical American dream of retirement.  It means being so satisfied with all that God promises to be for us in Christ that we are set free from the cravings that create so much emptiness and uselessness in retirement.  Instead, knowing that we have an infinitely satisfying an everlasting inheritance in God just over the horizon of life makes us zealous in our few remaining years here to spend ourselves in the sacrifices of love, not the accumulation of comforts” (John Piper. Rethinking Retirement: Finishing Life for the Glory of Christ. Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois. 2008).
    At an age when many men might have considered backing off and letting the younger generation do the fighting, Caleb was looking for mountains to climb and battles to win.  He said:
And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old.  I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said (Josh 14:10-12, ESV).
    Caleb stands in contrast to the whining children of Joseph to whom Joshua said, in effect, “Stop complaining and go clear some land if you do not have enough (Joshua 17:14-18).
    Not many men—if any—can say these days that they are as strong at 85 as they were at 40, but 85-year-old men are not called on today to go into combat.  But here are just a few people who made their mark late in life:
•    Colonel Sanders began KFC at the age of 65.
•    Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when she started the Little House series of books.
•    Golda Meir became the fourth prime minster of Israel at age 70.
•    Ronald Reagan became president 16 days before his 70th birthday.
•    Burton Coffman began writing his verse-by-verse commentaries on the entire Bible when he was 66 and finished them when he was 87.
All of these people looked for mountains to climb when others were willing to coast downhill, toward death.  The famous baseball player, manager, and coach, Yogi Berra, who was still coaching at age 80, once said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
    You and I won’t match the accomplishments of these historic figures, but God does not expect us to.  God expects us to bloom where we are planted, but he does expect us to bloom until we go to seed and our bodies are planted in the ground.   You haven’t gone to seed if you are reading this, so I challenge you keep on blooming.  God’s promise to Israel can be ours, if David’s prayer is ours:

“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob,
And all the remnant of the house of Israel,
Who have been upheld by Me from birth,
Who have been carried from the womb:
 Even to you old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you (Isa 46:3-4)

O God, You have taught me from my youth;
And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.
Now also when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come (Psa 71:17-18).

- Don Campbell preaches for the Puryear Church of Christ in Puryear, TN. He may be contacted via the congregation's website:

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