Twenty-five years of Harvest Crusades—it’s something to celebrate! And that’s exactly what we plan to do at this year’s SoCal Harvest. But as wonderful as it is to look back over the years and rejoice over God’s work in the lives of so many, I think it is even more important that we look forward. In the Book of Joshua, we find a great example of someone who was looking ahead to the future. His name is Caleb.
In Joshua 14:12, Caleb spoke these words: “Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim [enemy giants] were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said” (NKJV).
“Give me this mountain,” the 85-year-old Caleb said. He wasn’t afraid. He had no thought of retirement. He wasn’t headed for Leisure World. There was still the unfinished task.
There is no retirement from the Christian life, from spiritual battle, or from fulfilling God’s commission to go into all the world and tell others His good news of salvation.
God may give us the privilege, like Caleb, of living to be 85 or more—or He may not. But we should want the same zeal that Caleb had, the zeal to get up every morning and say, “What’s ahead? I am available. I am ready. Give me this mountain.” That is the way we should face each and every day—not living in the past, not looking longingly over our shoulders at the good old days, but instead looking ahead to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
Caleb asked for a treacherous area known as Hebron, near Kadesh Barnea where he first spied out the land 40 years earlier. He said, “I like this spot right here. It’s fierce. It’s rugged. It has formidable foes. This is my kind of place. Give me this mountain.” He never forgot it. And Moses promised it to him.
But Hebron was also known for something else. It was known as the place where God spoke to Abraham face-to-face and gave him the promise of the land in the first place. The very name of Hebron is telling. It means fellowship, love, and communion.
This is the place Caleb longed for and received. While others were looking back, Caleb was looking forward.
And that is an essential key to spiritual longevity: you need to always be moving forward, always seeking to grow spiritually—and never looking back.
The apostle Paul also spoke of the importance of looking forward. In Philippians 3:13–14, he said, “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved [perfection], but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (NLT).
Are you satisfied with your spiritual life right now? I am not satisfied with mine. I feel there is a lot of growing I still need to do. I feel there are a lot of things I still need to learn and a lot of changes that still need to happen in my life. And guess what? The same is true for you.
The enemy to growth is contentment. Don’t get me wrong. As Christians, we should be content with our circumstances, our possessions, and our surroundings. But we should never be content with where we are spiritually. We should always be wanting more—wanting to learn more, wanting to grow more, and wanting to share more.
This is where people often have a breakdown when it comes to keeping their goals and resolutions. They just give up. They think, “I can never do it. I am just going to accept who I am and where I am. I will just accept things the way they are.” But that is not good enough. We need to commit ourselves to get past the barriers and meet the goals we have set, so we can live productive lives for God’s glory.
We need to keep raising the bar.
The apostle Paul, after years of walking with God, said, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me” (Philippians 3:12 NLT). To loosely paraphrase, Paul was saying, “I am not satisfied with where I am. I want to keep growing and progressing spiritually.”
As we look back on 25 years of changed lives, we are exceedingly thankful for how God has used the Harvest Crusades, here in Southern California, across the country, and around the world—but at the same time, let’s keep moving forward to what is still ahead.
There was a phrase that was common in my earlier days of ministry. Christians who made plans for the future would always add the phrase, “…should the Lord tarry,” meaning, “…if the Lord decides to wait a little longer before returning to this world to make things right.”
The way things are going, this world keeps getting darker and darker, and I don’t know if the Lord will wait much longer before coming back, but “should the Lord tarry,” here’s to 25 more years of proclaiming the gospel!
By Greg Laurie