And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. And from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more. They minister to their brothers in the tent of meeting by keeping guard, but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.” Numbers 8:23-26
“No matter how you find your passion, early on, pursue it with a white-hot flame, dedicating it to the good of the world. But hold your success lightly–be ready to change as your abilities change. Even if your worldly prestige fails, lean into the changes. Remember, every change of circumstances is a chance to learn, grow, and create value… Devote the back half of your life to serving others with your wisdom. Get old sharing the things you believe are most important. Excellence is always it own reward, and this is how you can be most excellent as you age.”
Arthur C. Brooks in From Strength to Strength (New York: Penguin, 2022) 39-40.
Today’s Scripture is the text God gave me when I turned 50. The text basically teaches God’s servants that for about 25 years their job is to do the work. Then at 50 it changes. The Levites pivot from working to serving.
They must minister to the next generation to keep guard of the work and sustain ministry from generation to generation. Or as Brooks put it, my role is to “get old sharing” wisdom and important stuff. I love that, as I turned 55 on 13 December 2022.
I finished this book in my first two days of rest in Puerto Rico. It was time well spend. Again, I was inspired to read it as I am part of a group of Christian brothers reading and discussing it.
And I want to make it known that I am following the example of the Levites who shifted from working to serving. I am shifting from doing the work to developing others. This mirrors what I have read in this book.
The title of the book, From Strength to Strength, was inspired by a phrase that appears in Psalms.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. Psalm 84:5-7
I learned much from this book which I will share in time. I really appreciated the call to develop my relationships, to help those around me increase their effectiveness, and to embrace my weakness, which actually increases the prospect of my long-term impact.
God help us to go from strength to strength. Help us get old sharing important stuff. Cause us to bring life to the people and the desert places through which we pass as we journey to our eternal home and someday appear before You. Amen.