So, you and I are riding in a motorboat, looking straight ahead with the wind in our faces, as the boat cuts swiftly through the water … are you with me, can you see yourself? You turn and look behind at the wake the boat is throwing, fanning out equally from both sides ~ the wake tells the story of how the boat has fared, how it handled choppy and even turbulent water, and how it sailed across glassy waters. Sometimes I think about that wake as being representative of my life – when I look back, what will I see? wake: a track, course, or condition left behind something that has passed. What will I leave behind me when I come to the end of my boat ride? Most importantly, I know that I want mine to be a life well lived.
Caleb serves as one great role model for living life to the full. Most notably, Caleb did not just have faith in God, he believed him, and he trusted him.
Aye, Caleb did not just say he had faith in God, without that faith translating into action. Key - he remembered God’s faithfulness over his lifetime, crediting God’s provision to his understanding of a God who is not just great and mighty, but oh, so good. So at 40 years of age, Caleb crossed from the desert to the Promised Land because he had believed God, trusted his promise and acted on it.1
There is another reason Caleb is my new role model. Besides being faithful, reliable, tenacious, all in, gutsy, and in for the long haul … He was RESILIENT. The character traits that he exhibited at 40 years of age still defined him at 85 years of age!
“…Here I am today, eighty-five years old! 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.”2 Caleb holds God to his promise about giving him the land of Hebron, —“Give me this mountain!” he cries out, ready to fight, though he is 85 years old. He does, and he prevails.3
Titus was resilient. He did not just start well in ministry alongside Paul ~ he finished well too.
Resilience ~ staying the course, coming back after failure or mishap, and running strong, remaining steadfast ~ it matters … a lot, especially for we who are following Jesus. Developing resilience is demanding, mostly done in secret, often humbling, not always fun4 … but absolutely vital.
Moses got that. Paul got it too, outlining: “Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes goes into strict training. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”5 Paul was familiar with the Olympian and Isthmian Games; I believe he held athletes and their discipline in high regard. And he considered himself a spiritual athlete.
Spiritual athlete ~ I like that a lot. Relentless, disciplined-especially in private, willing to count the cost, sometimes falling but always getting back up, keeping my eye on the goal, checking my progress (looking back at my boat wake), and never giving up. And one more thing—realizing that God can use the second half of my life to be far more influential than the first half, if I am living for him. Yeah, sign me up. "Old men ought to be explorers," insists T.S. Eliot. Old women too.
Picture yourself at 85 – want to be a spectator, or worse, one who criticizes and laments, is full of regrets? Not me. I want to still be taking the mountain, like Caleb. It involves knowing where I am going, who I am living for, managing time, energy and physical strength, disciplining and training myself spiritually, and never giving up.
If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I think I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully the thing I want to live for. Between these two answers, you can determine the identity of any person. The better answer he has, the more of a person he is.6
Caleb set the example ~ you and I can take his lead and WHOLLY trust God, go all in and for the long haul. God empowered me to make that choice and I have. Will you join me?
Build My Life, Pat Barrett: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZW4_8_zCBE
1 – Numbers 13
2 – Joshua 14.6-13
3 – Joshua 15.13-14
4 – Gordon MacDonald, A Resilient Life
5 - 1 Corinthians 9.24-27
6 – Thomas Merton, Catholic writer and mystic