Graceline: Prepare to be old

January 8, 2013 

Happy New Year!

Wanda and I are so blessed to share the journey with you all. We believe 2013 is going to be a very exciting year as we learn to trust Him more each day.

It is always a time of reflection and of course, New Year’s resolutions. We all have every intention of becoming more intentional about some areas that need improvement in our lives.

Back in the day when I was a football coach, I used to play golf with the dad of one of our players. He was a fitness nut. He ran and worked out every day. At the time, he was a few years older than I was. I remember asking him one day, “Why do you run every day?” What he said didn’t register with me then, but it sure does now. He told me, “You have to prepare to be old when you are young, or you will be old before your years.”

When we are young we have the energy and mobility to go where we like. As we age, that blessing can become limited. No doubt we need to stay in shape physically, so we have the strength and energy to walk on the very edge of the potential that Papa put into us, but we also need to keep spiritually fit as well.

We need to live in such a way that others will come to us in our old age for the wisdom and love we gained throughout our journey.

One of my favorite characters in the Bible is Caleb. At the age of 40, Caleb was sent out along with 11 others to spy out the Promised Land. Although 10 of the spies reacted in fear and distrust, which brought a 40-year detour in the wilderness, Caleb and Joshua clung to their faith in God’s promise. They both continued to trust God and prepare for the day when their hopes would be fulfilled. In essence, they prepared to be old while they were still young.

When that entire unbelieving generation died out and they entered the Promised Land, Caleb was as fit at 85 as he was at 40.

“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.” (Joshua 14:7-12 MSG)

The faithless 10 spies sacrificed the character and faith of their children for their own comfort. They failed the “leadership test.” Leadership is about giving others the vision and passion to sacrifice the comfort of today for the freedom of tomorrow for others.

Caleb’s courageous choices were born not out of self-preservation but out of love for God and love for his country and people. There is a cry from our land for those who will make choices and lead like Caleb.

The Apostle Paul says it this way: “For now, we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 3:8)

There is overwhelming evidence in Scripture that truly righteous people bear increasingly more and sweeter fruit into their old age. Quality of life is not measured by the number of moments we breathe, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.

Live every moment of 2013 to the max. Live in the awe and wonder of our Lord who has given us everything we need for life and godliness. Enjoy Him and the people He brings into your Journey this year and start preparing today for the rest of your life. It is not how you start, but how you finish that really matters.

Finish strong! Start now!

Kenny Ashley is the leader of The Journey, which meets at 10:30 a.m. Sundays at Crowders Creek Elementary School.

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