Monday Memo 1149: Never Too Old For Purpose

'Believe Trust' from

It's time to start a new series since last week we finished the "Never Too Young for Purpose." series. While at breakfast with a friend a few days ago, he said, "Make sure you write something about us older folks and our need not to retire but to stay focused and on purpose." And since I turned 74 years old last week, it seems fitting that I should write about the flip side of "never too young," which is obviously "never too old."

Some modern cultures legislate when their citizens are to be considered "old," recommending or mandating that they retire at a certain age. Other cultures portray someone's latter years as a time to retire from jobs which leads to some believing their retirement is an entitlement. I disagree. Purpose doesn't come with an expiration date or "do not use after such-and-such-a-date" label. For example, Pope John XXIII became pope at the age of seventy-six. Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel at seventy-one. George Bernard Shaw had a play produced when he was eighty-four.

When we consider role models from the Bible, we see that Moses was 80 when he began a new career for the remaining third of his life (and we'll look at Moses in the coming weeks). But it's Caleb, the man who spied out the land and returned to give a good faith report, who stands out as the best model for our latter years:

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).

Obviously, unless the Lord returns, none of us are getting out of here alive. We will all die but that doesn't mean we have to cooperate with the process! The Bible clearly defines death as an enemy and enemies are to be opposed and fought. The best way to fight your inevitable passing is to be involved in purposeful activities until you can't perform them any longer. Even then, you can create a legacy of purpose that can live on and impact people long after you're gone.

What is your idea of "getting old"? Is it sitting around your home binge watching old movies? If you think you're too old, then you'll fulfill your own thoughts and thus disqualify yourself from a life of purpose. Where in Scripture does it mention the word retirement? Is your interpretation of your latter years shaped by cultural norms or from the Bible? I want mine to be informed and inspired by the word of God, which is why I'm praying as I begin my 75th year, "Put me in, Coach!" I want to be a Caleb in my generation.

I have the experience, the education, the health, and the desire to continue to impact lives and help build God's kingdom—and certainly the need is present not just in my nation but in the world. I'm doing what I can now to touch people through my travels and social media. As I do, I'm creating a trail that will help people navigate their purpose quest even after I'm gone. I invite you to join me over the next weeks and months as we examine the truth that you're "never too old for purpose" so that you will prepare for old age or make the most of it if you've already arrived. May God speak to us and direct as we study and walk together. Have a blessed week.


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