“The people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite spoke: ‘You’ll remember what God said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me back at Kadesh Barnea. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of God sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land. And I brought back an honest and accurate report. My companions who went with me discouraged the people, but I stuck to my guns, totally with God, my God. That was the day that Moses solemnly promised, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance, you and your children’s, forever. Yes, you have lived totally for God.’ Now look at me: God has kept me alive, as he promised. It is now forty-five years since God spoke this word to Moses, years in which Israel wandered in the wilderness. And here I am today, eighty-five years old! I’m as strong as I was the day Moses sent me out. I’m as strong as ever in battle, whether coming or going. So give me this hill country that God promised me. You yourself heard the report, that the Anakim were there with their great fortress cities. If God goes with me, I will drive them out, just as God said’.” Joshua 14:6-12 (MSG)
As you grow up, there are many things that your parents tell you that you can do when you are older. You can mow the lawn when you are older. You can ride your bike without supervision when you are older. You can buy a car when you are older. Age is a major factor as we “graduate” through life and reach milestones such as going to high school, driving a car, going to college, getting married, buying a house, and the list goes on. Many times we are taught that age is a qualifying factor. However, when it comes to serving God, age doesn’t make a difference.
When Caleb was sent out as a spy to survey the promise land, he came back fully confident that God would give them the land no matter the obstacles. However, with the exception of Joshua, the other spies did not feel the same way. They saw the giants in the land as too big for God. Yet, after Caleb had wandered in the wilderness for forty years, he was one who was able to enter the promised land because of his faith in God’s promise. At that point, forty-five years had passed, yet Caleb had a dream inside his heart that he didn’t let die. Given his age and season of life, Caleb could have easily stayed on the sidelines and allowed someone younger to fight the battles in order to receive the land inheritance. He was eighty-five years old! Looking from the outside, we wouldn’t even condemn him for wanting to take a break. But, Caleb was not content with sitting on the sidelines. His age was just a number, not a defining factor in fulfilling his destiny. Many times, we can feel that we are too young or too old to carry out the dream God has placed in our hearts. Sometimes it is easier to resign ourselves to the fact that someone else brighter, younger, older, or more qualified will come along and accomplish the dream God has put inside of you. It can be easier to sit on the sidelines than to get in the battle if you have not allowed God to cultivate the dream in your heart. Caleb probably thought about the promised land every day for the forty years that the Israelites wandered in the desert. He knew that at some point he would make it to the promised land. So instead of dragging the dream into his future, he had allowed the cultivation period to solidify in him the initiative, desire, and resolve to fight the battle before him. His life was invigorated with strength and passion, as he knew that he never let the dream die within him, and his age was not a limitation for God to still use him. God has placed dreams and passions inside of your heart. When we have a dream, we want to make it happen. We don’t necessarily want seasons of cultivation. Yet, that season might be the very thing that we need to propel us into action if we allow God to grow the dream inside rather than give up. No matter the season of your life that you are in, the moment has not passed for you to fulfill a God-given dream. As Caleb’s age would seem to disqualify him from going into battle, it didn’t, and your age doesn’t disqualify you either. As you look ahead, hold onto the God-given dream and let it grow inside you rather than die within you.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.