I won't give away Juan's age, but I will say that he was born before the stock market crash that brought about the Great Depression. And he has had an amazing life. Juan has been imprisoned three times for being a Christian. He was expelled from his native country for the same crime. He has shared a taxi with a Nobel Prize winner and had coffee with a king. He has written dozens of books, preached on five continents, and baptized thousands of people.
A defender of religious freedom, Juan helped found Amnesty International. He has helped start churches in Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Equatorial Guinea, and the United States. Living in Madrid, he travels several times a year to the Americas to preach and to lecture in universities.
There's one topic that Juan likes even less than the discussion of age: retirement. Juan says, "God called me to preach, and that's what I will do until he decides to call me home."
His story reminds me of a character in the Bible, a man named Caleb. When God's people were about to enter the Promised Land, Caleb and eleven other men were sent to spy out the land. Ten of the spies came back saying that there was no way that the Israelites could conquer the people of that land; Caleb was one of the two who showed faith in God's promises and God's power.
Then we see Caleb 45 years later, at the age of 85, ready to receive the land that God had promised him. When asked which part of the Promised Land he wanted for his own, Caleb replied:
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 14:12).
Caleb could have asked for part of the land that had already been conquered or some place where the battles would be easy. Instead, he asked for an area where the rest of God's armies had been unable to drive out their enemies. Caleb didn't want a place to retire; he wanted to be a part of advancing God's Kingdom.
I pray that my life may ever be focused on what I can do, not what I can stop doing. I want to be like my friend Juan. I want to be like Caleb. Even if the effects of age force me to limit my activities, may I ever be seeking ways to serve the Lord.
"Give Me this Hill Country" by Tim Archer is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Heartlight encourages you to share this material with others in church bulletins, personal emails, and other non-commercial uses. Please see our Usage Guidelines for more information.