Before retiring a year and a half ago, while on a mission trip in Cuba, I was talking with some of our friends about my imminent retirement and what God might have in store in years ahead. They prayed with me and Yami then prophesied over me. Referring to Joshua 14, she said, "You are Caleb. And like Caleb, you have another mountain to conquer. Go find that mountain!" In the Bible, Caleb was 85 when he asked Moses to give him Hebron for his inheritance. I have a few years before I catch up with him, and when I do, I don't think I'll be able to say as he did that he was as strong and vigorous as he had been forty years before. But I hope I will have the same enthusiasm and trust in the Lord as he had.
I've been working my way through Numbers in my daily Bible reading, and today found myself once more in chapter 14 which recounts the bad report given by ten of the twelve spies and the subsequent refusal of Israel to go in and take the land. Joshua and Caleb saw the same things as did the other ten, but instead of dwelling on the inhabitants's size and strength, said that "their protection is gone, and the LORD is with us. Don't fear them." How is it that these two came back recognizing the strength and size of the people, but convinced that they could be beaten? The 24th verse tells us: "My servant Caleb has a different spirit in him and has followed me fully." David Jeremiah notes that of the thirty verses that make mention of Caleb, no less than six times it is said of him that he had a different spirit in him. Victory or defeat depends not on what is around us, but on what is within us.
After reading today's Scripture and remembering the words spoken over me in Cuba, I paid a visit to my pastor. "I don't know all that God is telling you about the directions and plans he has for Park church, but I know that when Caleb finally entered the land, he did so under the leadership of Joshua, God's appointed leader for that new generation. Whatever God has for me, it will be under your leadership."
Caleb asked for the most difficult assignment of conquering the mountainous region where lived the Anakim (no, not Anakin, as in Darth Vader. This is Scripture, not Star Wars.), men of huge stature and a ferocious fighting reputation. Did I mention that Caleb had a different spirit in him? He wasn't about to sit around on his laurels and let younger and less experienced men do the fighting. He was a warrior from start to finish, and wanted to be where the action was thickest.
There are times I would like to sit back, rest, and let others do the heavy lifting, but although I'm not in the place of leadership any more, that doesn't mean I'm to sit on a shelf and merely watch the action. I am looking for the place where the battle is hot, the fighting furious, where victories are to be won, and glory to be gained for Jesus Christ. As the new year dawns, I am grateful to enter in, not as a has-been, but as a seasoned veteran, ready to take that mountain for God!