I recently consulted upon a case of a malignant melanoma. When I texted my colleague of the diagnosis, she texted back. “Sad case. Patient was being followed by an older dermatologist who didn’t do anything about this suspicious looking mole.”
“Very sad…” I texted back.
“Yes, she should have retired a long time ago!”
The dismissive text messages from my dermatology colleague was not surprising. All of us must navigate life within a very narrow window of credibility. One is either too young and inexperienced or too old and irrelevant. For professional athletes, the window period of credibility may be as brief as 10 years before injuries and an aging body take its toll. For physicians, how many total hip replacements or face lifts are considered adequate experience? At what age is all this experience negated by the patient’s fear of the physician’s unsteady hands? How long are our skills and credibility relevant to others?
The Bible firmly deals with this issue. The Apostle Paul encouraged his young protege, Timothy, to ignore those who may dismiss his abilities and credibility because of his youth.
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12 (ESV)
Joshua, the chosen successor and leader after Moses, reminded the Israelites that although he was advanced in years, he was still very relevant and very squarely within the window of credibility.
And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming.
Joshua 14:10-11 (ESV)
How long are our skills and credibility relevant? Who determines the criteria? Do we administer self-examinations? Do we submit ourselves to our peers and competitors, beholden to their own biases and motives? Is there a higher authority that we may seek, one that is a perfect judge and standard bearer?
Only God is the creator and sustainer of our credibility and relevance and He delights in us to use our gifts to bring glory and honor to His Name! When we acknowledge Him as the source and submit our skills to Him, judged in His perfect light, our credibility will be laid bare. By our own efforts, we have no credibility. It is only by confessing and repenting of our sins and submitting ourselves to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, will we be sanctified.
We live our lives within a very narrow window of credibility.
Thanks be to God that our eternal credibility ultimately rests upon the grace and mercy of God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.