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'Possessing the Strength of Caleb' Garris Elkins

A faithful wife is a gift from God. A spiritually faithful wife is an even greater gift. Jan has always been faithful to never let me self-describe myself as anyone less than the man God created me to be. Whenever I allow myself to think less of myself, Jan will say, “You have the strength of Caleb!” What follows her loving correction is an act of repentance and a restatement on my part that aligns me back to a biblical perspective about how I see my life and interpret the future.

As Caleb was speaking to Joshua and recalling his life, he referred back to the time when he was part of the team that originally scouted out the Promised Land. On his return from that scouting mission, he said, “I returned and gave an honest report but my brothers who went with me frightened the people from entering the Promised Land” (Joshua 14: 7-8).

A few verses later, Caleb describes his life 45 years after that original scouting event as an 85-year-old man. “Today, I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I did then” (vs.11).

The word Caleb used to describe what he saw and interpreted within the yet-to-be-conquered Promise Land, was the word "honest." Caleb presented “an honest report” (vs. 7) of what he saw. The words “an honest report” have also been translated as “according to my convictions” or “as it was in my heart.” I prefer the words “an honest report.” Honest is a view absent of fear. It aligns us with how God sees what we are called to engage and move into, like the aging process. That is what Jan has challenged, on occasion, in my life when I see less of myself than God does.

We can only be honest before God and people if we see the circumstances of our lives through the lens of faith, not through the lens of fear.

In a few weeks, I will turn 74-years-old. I have no interest in being part of an old folk’s group in a local church or leading a senior’s ministry. I intend, with God’s help and the admonition of a truly faithful wife, to never park my life and ministry in a place of resignation. Our life of faith is eternal, not temporal. I honestly believe my latter years will be better than my former because God's word tells me so. On occasion, I will need a reminder of that assignment. Thanks, Jan.

Garris Elkins


We are excited to bring Jan Jansen Back on Dec 12


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