Caleb is my hero. Even as he got older and older, he was always active, always ready to be a part of the team, always ready to join his countrymen in battle. He seemed tireless, healthy, and ready for action.
I’m talking about Caleb from the Old Testament in the Bible. Remember the ten spies that were sent into the promised land to check things out and bring a report back to Moses and the Israelites? Caleb was one of the two who came back excited about the prospects of taking the land because God had promised it to them, even though the current inhabitants were like giants compared to the Israelites.
About 45 years after his spying mission, we read more about Caleb as he came to Israel’s current leader, and his old spying buddy, Joshua as they were finally settling in the land. In Joshua 13:11, Caleb said this, “I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming.”
So, Caleb is now 85 years old and he’s telling his leader that he’s as fully alive now as he was 45 years ago when he was called into service to spy. He stood strong in the days he was called to spy the land and he stood strong years later when it was time to fight for and inherit the land.
Caleb didn’t retire and let the young guys do the work. He kept himself fit so he could work alongside the younger guys and lead them, direct them, teach them, and mentor them. Caleb is my hero.
Caleb is a hero for me because of the strength he maintained throughout his life. He didn’t let old age make him old. I picture him as a guy who was very active all of his life, working hard, playing hard, living a balanced and healthy life. Caleb was fully alive! I see Caleb as one that multiple generations looked up to as a role model of balance in life; physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
That’s the kind of role model I want to be as I get into my 50’s. So many in our society would write of a 50 year-old man with big dreams, but I just remember Caleb and his strength and get encouraged to live out those dreams, fully alive. I want to be that guy who is physically ready to do whatever God calls him to do, so I stay in shape and get plenty of exercise. I want to be that guy in his 50’s who is so enthusiastic about growth and change that I lead the next generation into growth and change.
There is so much a 50 (or 60 or 70 or 80) year-old man can do if he stays young in heart and mind. There are so many dreams that can be fulfilled by older men and women that can lead and inspire younger folks to dream and plan and live fully alive.
Let’s be sure we don’t write someone off just because they don’t fit in the ‘young leader’ demographic. Let’s recognize the energy and enthusiasm of those who might be a little older but who are living life fully alive with no plans of slowing down. I plan to be that guy!