“Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. 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 this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said” – Joshua 14:10-12.
One of the worst things about achieving success in life is how much time it takes. For example, training for a 5 k takes perseverance, hard work, and lots of sweat. It takes baby steps and the sheer determination to get up out of bed, lace up your sneakers and place one foot in front of the other. No one runs the full three miles the first time. It takes work everyday, relying on make God and the training from the day before to get through the next workout, hoping to go a little further than the day before.
It’s easy to make excuses. Perhaps illness or life’s circumstances make it easy to quit. Something as simple as fatigue can derail the day’s run, making it easy to skip it the next day. One day leads to the next day and soon it’s been months since you have trained and the dream of achieving the satisfaction of crossing the finish line becomes nothing more than a distant memory.
The biggest gap between success and failure is how willing you are going to go to achieve success. Depending on God’s faithfulness, being obedient to God’s calling and not making excuses is the quickest way to walk the pathway of success.
Push the Excuses Aside
The first time we encounter Caleb in the bible is in the book of Numbers. Caleb and Joshua are sent to spy the land. As they realize the armies ahead of them, and the huge obstacles that stood in their way, it would have been easy for them to quit and to make excuses as to why they couldn’t conquer the land and defeat their enemies. The obstacles were stacked against them. But Caleb was of a different spirit. He said, “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30). These are some of the characteristics God admired:
- He did the right thing, even when others wouldn’t.
- He followed the Lord with everything within him, even when the situation became difficult.
- He stood in the face of possible death and persecution,
- He was successful due to God’s faithfulness.
But now Caleb was older. He had served the Lord for forty- five years and now, at the age of eighty-five, he had a decision to make. He could settle into a life of comfort. He could blame it on his age. His strength and endurance could not be what it once was. I’m sure his body aches in places it never ached before; his vision, not as sharp as it once was. Caleb should use his age as an excuse to step aside and let someone else serve the Lord. But Caleb didn’t see it that way. What’s interesting is he says, “He has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses.” Caleb saw this as a gift to keep serving, using every day, every moment, as an opportunity to accomplish more for the Lord.
Do you see each day as Caleb sees them? Do you see each moment as an opportunity for God to use you?
Maybe you are older, having served the Lord for many years in church. It’s easy to make excuses, passing the buck to someone younger, more agile and more eager to use their gifts steps forward. Caleb pushed his excuses aside. He claimed the victory and believed in the promise God had made to Him long ago. Because of his faithfulness, God honored and blessed Caleb.
What “hill“ might God be asking you to take on? What excuses do you need to push aside so you can serve the Lord wholeheartedly?