Bible Verse: “So 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. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day.” (Joshua 14:10-12)

Scripture Reading: Numbers 14:6-15

Numbers 14 is about Caleb seeking permission to occupy the land of the Anakites. At this time, Joshua had succeeded Moses as leader and brought the next generation of Israelites into Canaan, but they still had not occupied all the land. Caleb, now at the age of 85, asked Joshua to give him permission to take possession of the land of the Anakites. After hearing Caleb’s convictions and request, Joshua blessed Caleb and granted him permission to take over the land.

• The Role of Affirmation from Leadership
There was opportunity for Caleb to act independently in defeating the Anakites and take over their land. However he respected Joshua’s leadership and did not embark on a personal mission without first seeking permission and affirmation from Joshua (Josh. 14:12). Giving permission and affirmation continues to be an important function of leadership today, and the church is no exception. Accordingly, church leaders need to welcome, encourage and provide opportunities for their own “Calebs” to serve.

• Partnering with the Younger Generation
Given the fact that none of the Israelites above the age of twenty had been allowed to enter the Promised Land, now – 45 years later – the oldest among them must have been under sixty five (except Caleb and Joshua). It is not difficult to see that Joshua was leading a generation younger than himself into the Promised Land. It is also obvious that Caleb must have partnered with that same generation to conquer the Anakites. Such partnership helps combine the wisdom of the aged with the energy and enthusiasm of the youth. In [every] church, there is obvious potential for partnership between the young and the old in serving God together.

• Continuing with the Unfinished Task
To the Israelites, conquering the land of the Anakites was part of the unfinished task. As a result of their earlier disobedience to the specific commands of the Lord, the Israelites had not driven out all Canaanites under Joshua’s leadership (Judg. 1:21, 27-34). After Joshua’s death, an Angel of the Lord announced this message: “I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you” (Judg. 2:3). Upon reflection, each church will discover that they too have an unfinished task.

— Gerald K. Chan in Serving in the Golden Years: The Tribe of Caleb
© 2016 by Gerald K Chan. Used by permission.

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