In the early 1900s, a desperate father prayed for his sick daughter: “God, spare her life and I’ll serve you with mine.” Miraculously, the girl recovered. The grateful father quit his job, packed his large family (along with a cow and some chickens) and moved to Texas for seminary. In his mid-30s, he became an evangelist who held tent revivals in Texas and Oklahoma.
For many years, the pastor faithfully preached the gospel. Even after reaching the century mark, he’d rise every day and don a three-piece suit. Despite shaky legs and cataract-clouded eyes, he’d wait for his son-in-law, married to the daughter who had nearly died so many years ago, to guide him downtown for coffee. A newcomer asked, “Why do you get so dressed up?” The aged pastor replied, “I never know when I’ll lead someone to the Lord. By the way, son, do you know Jesus?” Reverend A. F. Whitlock understood a simple truth: You’re never too old to serve God.
As a young man, Joshua was sent to spy out the promised land. Only he and Caleb believed the Israelites could conquer the enemies living there. So the people wandered 40 years until the exodus generation perished—save the two spies. Then, succeeding Moses, Joshua led Israel into the promised land. Though he was about 80, Joshua captained Israel to victory over six nations and 31 kings.
Fast-forward 20 years. Joshua 13:1 somewhat understates, “Joshua had grown old.” It is estimated he was around 100 years old. Joshua might have expected God to send him on vacation: go float atop the Dead Sea or fish in the Lake of Galilee. But God didn’t offer Joshua a retirement plan. Instead he said, “There are still very large areas of land to be taken over.” Joshua’s next task was to divide the land.
Maybe you think you’re too old to keep serving God. You’ve offered your tithes, taught Sunday school, led women’s ministry and sung in the choir. What’s left? There are always “lands” left to conquer. There are children to tell stories to, younger women who would love to hear about your history, sick people to visit, prayers to pray, people who have yet to hear the Good News. You’re never too old to tell others about God’s love.
How has your age affected your ability to serve God (perhaps people don’t take you seriously because you’re younger or overlook you due to advanced age)?
What areas has God placed before you to “conquer” (neighborhood, work, family, etc.)?
Explain how Joshua’s story encourages you to continue serving God regardless of your age—young or old.
Joshua 13:1 When Joshua had grown old, the LORD said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.”