Not retired yet!

“Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40: 30-31)

Since moving to the city of Miramichi New Brunswick, I’ve noticed there are a lot of silver-haired people in the community. At one point, I thought Miramichi was the staging area for the snowbirds preparing to go south for the winter. Regardless of the hair colour and slower lines in the grocery store, my wife and I love it here and are blessed. This past Wednesday, I spent some time sitting on a bench in the Newcastle Town Square; this seemed to be a popular hangout for the elderly. As I sat enjoying the rest, many antique cars drove around the square, with the occupants honking their horns or shouting hellos to those sitting in the park. As I looked over the crowded benches, felt the warm sun and cool breeze, and listened to the oldie’s music playing in the background, I imagined I was in a Norman Rockwell painting. Although I was just people watching, I could not help but overhear a group of seniors nearby chatting and telling stories. During the twenty or so minutes I was there, I must have heard the statement “I remember when...” at least thirty times. I don’t mean to sound judgemental, but these retirees seemed content just to sit and reminisce about their past glories and seemed uninterested in what they still might accomplish.

When Caleb was forty years old, Moses sent him and eleven others into the promised land to recce the area. The scouts came back singing the praises of the fruitful earth. However, all of them, but Caleb and Hoshea (Joshua), shared a message implying they could not defeat its occupants. They stood at the edge of the land promised them by God, and only Caleb dared to say, “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” (Numbers 13:30). Caleb and Joshua, who were most likely older than the other scouts, trusted God’s promises and wanted the people to take what God had given them. However, the people were afraid and did not trust God and chose not to enter, and as a result, they wandered in the desert for forty years.

When it came time to settle the promised land, only Caleb and Joshua remained from the original Israelites freed from Egypt. They had trusted God and were blessed. Flash forward forty-five years after the recce when Joshua and Caleb are senior citizens discussing the new land they have conquered. Caleb, who is eighty-five, said to Joshua, “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 that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (Joshua 14:10-12). Caleb, who is well beyond what we consider to be retirement age in our country, had not retired from God’s work. He knew that because God was with Him, He could still serve God.

Although I know very little about the people sitting in the Newcastle Square benches, their conversations told me they seemed to have no vision for their future beyond their seats. Caleb spent his life trusting God and was full of energy to do His work, regardless of his age. We do retire from our jobs, but there is no retirement from Christian service to God. We are employees of heaven 24/7, and we must not act as if our best years are behind us. We must consider that the most significant work we can do for God is yet to come. We may not have the physical stamina of Caleb to fight wars for our countries, or build wells in foreign lands, or be part of a community-building project, but we can still serve God. While we still have breath in our lungs, and a pulse in our chest, God wants to use us to glorify Him and share the Gospel to the lost. Talk with God on how you can be used and spread your wing and be ready to soar.