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<< HomeWord, with Jim Burns

HomeWord - Aug. 14, 2009

  • 2009 Aug 14
  • COMMENTS

Keep On Serving! 
This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

“(Caleb said,) 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 the hill country that the Lord promised me that day.” —Joshua 14:10-12

Today’s Scripture passage is about Caleb who had been one of the 12 spies that Moses sent to scout out the land God had promised to give the Israelites.  Upon their return, Joshua and he alone gave good reports of that land. As a result only these two—out of their entire generation—were allowed by God to enter the “promised land” and to take possession of it.  Fast-forward past those forty years and the scene painted in Joshua 14 has Caleb, at 85 years-old, still vigorous, still ready to serve, still ready for more.

When I read about Caleb these days, I think about a friend of mine. His name is Bob Oertel. I met Bob in the summer of 1999 while we were working together at a Group Workcamp in Vermont. Bob was a volunteer photographer; taking pictures of the various work crews of teenagers that are participants during the weeklong camps. In those days, Bob spent 3 or 4 weeks a summer serving at various workcamps, driving long distances between camps, sleeping on a cot in a classroom, working the long hours typical of a workcamp volunteer.  I was impressed by Bob’s heart and energy for serving, for at the time he was in his eighties.

I’ve been out of the camp loop for a few years, so not long ago I searched the Internet to see if I could find whether Bob was still actively participating in workcamps. After all, he’d be 90-something now. And, I found him. A news article from Bob’s hometown told the story of a workcamp that he had been instrumental bringing to their town. According to the report, Bob has volunteered at 31 workcamps in the past 17 years.

Bob is on my list of heroes.  Because of his willingness to serve, Bob continues to make a difference in the lives of people.  He is truly a modern-day Caleb. And I want to be like him when I grow up.

The attitude of serving in the name of Christ knows no age limit. Sure, there may be health issues that limit a person’s ability, but I cannot find any Scripture that encourages people to sit on the sidelines, regardless of age.  There is no “mandatory retirement” age for the Christian life!  Jesus wants us to make a difference in his name – as long as he gives us life! The only requirements are an attitude of service in Jesus’ name and the willingness to act upon the opportunities He provides.

GOING DEEPER: 

  1. What, if any, unreal obstacles have you created to serving God where you are (like age, experience, or time commitments)?
  2. Identify opportunities for service that you currently have.

FURTHER READING: 
Joshua 14; James 3:13; Matthew 16:24-25; Psalm 34:11-14

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