You meet him for the first time in Numbers 13. He was a standout from the tribe of Judah and was selected as one of 12 men to go out and explore Canaan. Their report was positive in terms of the land itself, but the inhabitants represented an overwhelming obstacle and all but two of twelve were convinced that God had led them into a no win situation.
Caleb was 40 at the time. While he and Joshua were confident that God could do as He promised, they would both have to endure the years of wandering that were part of Israel’s sentence for their contemptuous treatment of God’s Character.
Israel’s opportunity to claim what could’ve been theirs 40 years prior takes place in the first part of the book of Joshua with the conquest of Jericho. In chapters 10-13, you see a list of victories that Israel accomplished as part of her campaign to conquer the Promised Land. In every one of these undertakings, Caleb is suiting up. According to today’s view of guys in their sixties and seventies, he should be reminiscing about his exploits rather than spearheading new ones. But he’s out there nevertheless and in chapter 14, he says in verse 10: “So here I am today, eight-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.”
I’ve determined that among the qualities I admire in the men that I look up to is a mental posture that constantly strives for a greater degree of excellence in all things. Spiritually, physically, mentally – a perpetual state of “becoming.”
On occasion, I rub shoulders with individuals and businesses that have resigned themselves to the idea that they’re “finished” – that their place is no longer on the field, but rather it’s in the stands. They joke about their appearance, they laugh at the thought of improving and they write off members of their peer group doing something significant as freak show exceptions rather than practical examples.
Whatever excuse you tend to gravitate to when you’re looking for something to justify a lack of forward momentum in your life, remember that those who are worth looking up to perceive themselves as perpetually engaged – constantly challenging themselves in order to be more capable of making a difference.
Men like Caleb, Theodore Roosevelt, Jack LaLanne1 – all of these men were busy becoming something more and striving to serve right up to the day they breathed their last. That’s the kind of zeal that results in success and that’s the sort of disposition that needs to be in place regardless of your station or circumstances.
Move (Jas 1:23). Become (Phil 3:13). Now (Acts 1:10-12).
- 1. Caleb (Joshua 14:10-11), Jack LaLanne – died on January 23, 2011. Published his last book in 2009 and “tweeted” a message three days before dying, encouraging folks to stick with their New Year’s Resolution to get fit (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/entertainment/post/2011/01/jack-lalanne-urged-good-health-just-before-death/1#.UxHZ5XlyzFk). Theodore Roosevelt was working on several articles on January 5, 1919, despite being in a good deal of pain. He passed away on January 20th (“Carry a Big Stick”, George Grant, Highland Books, Elkton, MD, 1996)