This evening, I’m sitting at a desk at a Residence Inn in northern Virginia. At some hour today I reached a new milestone—I turned fifty. This is a splacious moment (my word for great!) With each passing year, I get to learn new things in older ways and I’m grateful to God for the privilege.
Numbers 8:24-26--In regard to the Levites: From 25 years old or more, a man enters the service in the work at the tent of meeting. But at 50 years old he is to retire from his service in the work and no longer serve. He may assist his brothers to fulfill responsibilities at the tent of meeting, but he must not do the work. This is how you are to deal with the Levites regarding their duties.
God gave Moses an interesting work formula for His servants the Levites. At the age of fifty they reached retirement. They could assist their younger brothers in the tent of meeting but they were not to do the work. Only once does this instruction appear in the Bible but we should not dismiss it as insignificant because God repeats His plan to Moses regarding the cessation of work. Why do you suppose God would mandate retirement for His servants at an age where they still possessed energy?
Perhaps the number fifty signified completion. Each fifty years, the Israelites celebrated the year of Jubilee and they were required to rest their land. Maybe God was not concerned with energy but rather maturity. By retiring at fifty, the Levites held at most 25 years of experience serving the Lord. That experience was invaluable to the younger adults they assisted. By God moving them into a season of mentoring, He also opened up service for the younger men. He set in place perpetual training. What would happen to ministries today if leaders at the age of 50 shifted into a new season of mentoring? I believe it would invigorate the church! I believe it would also be an incredibly difficult step for those servants who define their identity by what they do.
Chris and I were talking about this and he said, “What’s the first question someone who doesn’t know you asks?” I responded, “What do you do?” We live in a society obsessed with doing! Many men retire from their jobs (usually much older than 50), and within a short period of time die. It’s as if by not working they lose their purpose in life. But those whose lives are defined by a higher purpose, a spiritual relationship with God, find that “being” is every bit as significant as “doing.” God made us to love us and to be loved by us. When we enjoy the course and are able to live in time instead of for time we discover a great secret—the meaning of eternity.
So by God’s grace, I’m starting a new season. I’m focusing more on being and less on doing. I’m celebrating 46 years of knowing Jesus, my best Friend and profoundly awesome Lord. I’m thanking Him for you—friends I have shared my heart with now for over ten years of writing. I’m a blessed man looking forward to forever with my Father in heaven . . . and that’s something to think about . . . in reveration!
Other men see only a hopeless end, but the Christian rejoices in an endless hope.—Gilbert Beenken
©2008 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)