The Reading: Joshua 14:6-12
“I am still as strong today as I was …” (v. 11) RSV
Caleb had been one of the two faithful spies (together with Joshua) who had been into the Promised Land and returned saying they could take it. He had been forty years old at that time. Since then Moses and Israel wandered in the wilderness for a further 40 years. Caleb was now into his retirement years. But he was still full of life. As the Psalmist says: “They still bring forth fruit in old age, they are ever full of sap and green” (Psalm 92:14).
A follower of Christ should always be full of the Holy Spirit. Joy should both be his hallmark and his strength. As Nehemiah wrote: “… the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Caleb was not prepared to rust out in retirement, but he was determined to continue living for the Lord all the days of his life.
Retirement from our employment can be a hard pill to swallow, though some may welcome it with relief. But as followers of Christ it is “he who endures to the end who will be saved” (Matthew 24:13). We always need purpose, and even more so when we retire. Fortunately Christians always have purpose; their aim is to know their God better, and to serve him with every fibre of their being.
Some people find retirement difficult because they become a ‘nobody’. A former Bank of England Governor referred to the transition from ‘Who’s Who’ to ‘Who’s He’! But disciples are not concerned with importance and recognition; they are concerned with using what’s left of their time and talents to the full.
They are not seeking the praise of men but rather the pleasure of their Lord. They want finally to hear that welcome: “Well done, good and faithful servant … enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23).
Thank you Lord for the strength that is left to me. May I find worthy outlets and opportunities for service. Amen.
1 What do we need to beware of in retirement?
2 How lively was Moses in his later years?