By Asst. Pastor Micah McCurry
Thought taken from a message "Kept Alive for Life's Greatest Adventure" by Chris McCurry
Have you ever wondered what you are doing on Earth? Maybe asked yourself the question, "Why am I alive?" or "What am I doing with my life?". For some this question causes depression, angst, and a loss of joy. It affects their spirit and their ability to enjoy the Christian life.
On the other hand, answering this question can be a source of fulfillment and purpose. A Bible character that may be able to help you, if you struggle with these types of questions, is Caleb. Through the life of Caleb we can see that The Best Is Yet To Come. Hopefully this short study will prepare you and help you understand that you have been Kept Alive For Life's Greatest Adventure.
So what practical truths can we learn from the life of Caleb?
Caleb was Optimistic
Unlike his 10 compatriots that did not think the Promised Land obtainable, Caleb was gung-ho and ready to go. His optimism shined through in the face of much opposition. Think of what the other spies thought of Caleb and his friend, Joshua. They must have thought Caleb and Joshua were nuts for wanting to take on those giants.
Caleb returned from his spy mission strongly believing that the children of Israel could conquer Canaan. It is hard to keep an optimist down. Caleb was always ready to go on another adventure. He was always ready to tackle the next big problem that faced him. If we could just siphon off a small portion of Caleb's optimism we would be much more prone to finding the joy in serving Jesus.
Caleb Outlived the Doubters
All of the other spies died except Caleb and Joshua. Not only that, but everyone else over the age of 20 passed away because of their unbelief. Caleb had his life extended beyond any of his friends and acquaintances because of his faith. They say he who laughs last, laughs best, and Caleb certainly got the last laugh. Caleb was not happy that only he and Joshua entered into the Promised Land. But he sure was happy that he was kept alive to see it.
Why did Caleb outlive all of the doubters? He wholly followed God. In Numbers 14 we see multiple times that Caleb, Moses, Joshua, and the Lord referenced how well he followed God. Vs. 8: I wholly followed the LORD my God, Vs. 9: Moses said, “because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God”, Vs. 14: Joshua blessed Caleb because “he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel”. In Vs. 24 of the same chapter, The Lord said, Caleb “had another spirit with him”, And, Caleb “followed me (the Lord) fully”. Those are some kind of references! Moses, Joshua, and the Lord Himself speak about how well Caleb followed God! Why did Caleb outlive the doubters? Because he wholly followed God!
Caleb Obtained the Promised Land
Caleb was part of a very select few. The only people over the age of 20 that made it were Caleb and Joshua. You know, sometimes not everyone gets to go on the adventure. Sometimes people make decisions that cause them to miss out on what God has for their lives. Don't miss out on the amazing adventure God has for you!
We applaud Caleb's bravery and faith, but how sad is it that millions of Israelites died simply because they saw insurmountable odds instead of a God given adventure. Often our problems are a matter of perspective. If we saw issues the way God sees them we would obtain so much more. Be like Caleb. Obtain the promised land. Don't miss out.
Caleb had been kept On earth for a purpose
Just like Caleb, we have been kept alive for a reason. Sometimes God has big adventures waiting for us, sometimes they are small. No matter the purpose, it is worth sticking around.
Have you ever been in a situation where you know you could have died? Some have been in bad car accidents, some have dealt with serious health issues, others have served in the military in dangerous places. It does not matter how close you have come to dying, if you still have breath, if you are still here, you are here for a reason. Maybe you can't see the purpose. Maybe you wish God would take you home. If God still has you here, he has a purpose for your life.
The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. You cannot always see the grand design in under 10 seconds like a 100 meter runner. Sometimes you have to plod and toil, but there is a great cloud of witnesses that will tell that it is all worth it in the end.
People have all sorts of reasons that God can't use them. I'm too old, I'm too young, I'm not a people person, I'm a behind the scenes type. Whatever your excuse, God can equip you for the task he has for you. There is a vigor that young people can use, there is an experience that those of advanced years can bring, there is a connection that introverts can share, there is a place for every single child of God to serve Him.
At 85 years old, Caleb now had more wisdom than when he was younger. Caleb had gained more respect from his family and friends. Caleb’s faith had increased with age. Caleb was better able to serve than ever before. Too many back away from adventures in faith because of their age, whether they consider themselves too young or too old. If you have retired from the work force, enlist in God's work force. If you have retired, why don't you refire and start burning for God? If you have retired, get a new set and re-tire and hit the road again for the glory of God! Don’t let any excuse keep you from life’s greatest adventures.
Caleb focused on the Opportunity ahead of him
At 85, he refused to believe he was too weak to succeed. I don't know if Caleb really was as strong as he was 40 years ago, but I do know that he believed it. Caleb focused on his strengths rather than his weaknesses, his abilities rather than his ailments, and his opportunities rather than his obstacles. Caleb, at 85, thought of the joy of adventure. Caleb's greatest adventure happened in the second half of his life. He was 40 when the other spies made the mistake that cost them their lives but he still viewed his strength as sufficient for whatever was ahead.
It is so sad when Christians let other people's mistakes hold them back. If anyone had an excuse to sit back, rest on their laurels, and constantly repeat "I told you so", it was Caleb. Yet, he didn't sit back and focus on the fact that others peoples' lack of faith and other peoples' cowardice caused him to lose 40 years of his life. He decided that even though he was forty years late, he still wanted that mountain. Caleb did not know the verse that we know so well, but he was quoting, Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me, before it was even written!
God has equipped us for what He wants us to do. Age brings new adventures. Health problems may bring us into contact with needy people. It has been said that hurt people, hurt people, but hurt people can also help people. Focus on the opportunities.
Caleb was ready to go on the Offense
As we get older, as we get more cynical, as we see more problems, we often slow down. Not Caleb! He was just hitting his stride at the age of 85!
Caleb would have charged the gates of Hell with a squirt gun if you pointed him in the right direction! Maybe you aren't that type of rough and tumble person. Maybe you don't have an aggressive personality. No matter the temperament you have, we can all go on the offense someway or another. It could be as simple as starting to go out soul winning. It could be as small as starting to make your devotions and prayer life more consistent. God does not need more Super Christians. He just needs faithful men and women to do His will and be ready for an adventure.
So Why Am I Alive?
Because doing God’s will is Life’s Greatest Adventure, and He wants you to take part. The Best Is Yet To Come and if you are a saved child of God, separate yourself and be ready for the adventure. Surrender to what God has for you.