At age 97, Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara was one of the world’s longest-serving physicians, authors, and educators. He had served since 1941 in Tokyo’s St Luke Hospital and also taught at St. Luke’s College of Nursing. He published 150 books after his 75th birthday. Until a few months before he died at age 105, he was still treating patients and often worked up to 18 hours a day. His advice: Don’t Retire.
In 2014, Harriet Thompson, 91 years old, completed her 15th Marathon in Charlotte, NC, and set a record for her age group. Leonard Hurwicz, still actively writing and publishing at age 90, received the Nobel Prize in Economics. Probably the oldest newlyweds, George and Dorren Kirby married when he was 103 and she was 91. (from Growing Old is Optional)
Consider the following Bible Characters: Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born; Moses was 80 when he started his career leading Israel out of Egypt. Moses wrote Psalm 90, containing the famous verse 10. “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength, they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow: for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Though Moses spoke of 80 years as a long lifetime, he lived to be 120. (Deuteronomy 34:7).
Joshua had an extremely difficult task following Moses as the leader of Israel. He was approximately 83 years old when he assumed this duty. Joshua had trained as an assistant under Moses during the wilderness wanderings. He led in the battle against Amalek, had been with Moses at Sinai, and helped spy out the land of Canaan. God and Moses chose Joshua as the successor to Moses. Now Moses had died, and it was Joshua’s job to take command and lead in the conquest of Canaan.
How do you think Joshua felt? It was one thing to follow the directions of Moses as he led the people. But now, Joshua was to command as God gave him orders. He couldn’t say he was too old to do this. Moses was 80 at the start of his leadership. Even though Joshua and Caleb had confidently stated that God would enable them to conquer Canaan, now he had to match action to his statement of faith. It was a monumental task. It would require immense trust in the supernatural power of God to accomplish it.
Could he do it? God had promised him and instructed him. “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:5, 7-9).
What awesome promises! But what overwhelming responsibilities for Joshua!
- His decisions would affect one to three million people
- Wrong choices could get people killed on the battlefield
- Right decisions and strategy could win battles – wrong ones could lose battles
- Right choices could lead to suitable properties for each family – or bad decisions could lead to unsuitable properties or no property.
But God showed Joshua the right decisions and how to lead His people correctly.
- Be strong and courageous – the right spiritual and mental attitude
- Observe the law – don’t deviate; follow instructions
- Keep the book of the law (Pentateuch- for us today, the Bible) with you all the time
- Meditate on it day and night
- Meditate on the Word, which shows you how to obey the instructions.
Then you will prosper and have good success!
These instructions are wise for both young and old. And, if you are up in age, these instructions are for you.
If God has directed you to do something, he knows your age, physical and mental abilities, your handicaps, and your social abilities. He wouldn’t have called you to do something that He could not enable you to do.
So, whether you are 20, 50, or 80, get up and “go for it.” Don’t make excuses. Don’t slack off. Don’t act like an unbeliever. “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).