Monday, November 26, 2007


I turned 32 this past summer. A few times I was asked the usual, "Do you feel any different?" question. My friend Steve was with me one time it was asked and after I answered the usual answer of, "No," he made a rather pointed and loaded statement. He said, "You will next year." I asked him why and he said something about Jesus being 33 when his mission on Earth was complete. No lie, at no point in my life before that second had I ever contemplated that fact.

I know some of you readers of eleven aren't on board with all the Jesus talk, but stick with me for a minute.

Jesus, arguably the most influential man in all of history, both secular and spiritual, did all the work he had to do on Earth by the time he was in his 33rd year. Here I am, working on that same milestone in life. And now that I'm here, I can see how it could be a burden to a man. All kinds of questions about family, faith, purpose, and even worth, must flood the mind of a man as he approaches and then turns 33. Thanks to Steve, I know mine is.

Late Saturday night I sat with my friend Mike in front of a fire. In addition to the inspiration and honesty a fire seems to naturally provide, Mike is one of the friends I have that always makes me see life in a much deeper way. Somehow we got on the topic of age. He commented that as young thirty-somethings we are in a unique position. This is the one time in the life of a human where we are respected by all age groups. People much older than us listen when we speak and look to us as being very knowledgeable. On the other spectrum, we aren't too old to offend or be unable to relate and be looked up to by teens and young adults. Interesting thought. Furthermore, that age is the age of Jesus at the height of his ministry. So, this Savior of the world, this man who's spilled blood can wash us all clean, this man who would reshape an entire planet's thoughts on religion, chose to do and finish this once in a lifetime work at the age of 33.

So here I am. I'm 32. In nine months or so I'll turn 33. What have I done to change the world? What great movements have I inspired? I mean, the Bible says our goal is to be pursuing the ideal of "being like Jesus," right? So if that's what He did, what actions am I doing to arrive at the same end? And more than all of that, am I taking advantage of this rare age where I could potentially have the most impact on those around me? Am I using the leverage I have, the respect, the listening ears of those in reach of my voice, to do something meaningful? Or am I following the path of so many and letting this split second frame of influence slip by without making it matter?

I hope I'm doing the former. I hope the years I spent as a Youth Pastor mattered. I hope my meager leadership of Band Of Brothers is doing something. I hope my knowledge is respected and I hope I deserve it if it is. I hope Jesus is rooting for me, and helping me when I not-often-enough ask for it. I hope I can say some of my best work was done by the time I was 33. We'll see.


Blogger Adrienne said...

I always think thoughtful posts deserve a comment...but I don't know what to say. :)

2:43 PM  
Blogger HennHouse said...

Jesus knew he would be asked to give his life at 33. But He also knows that it takes lots of us much longer to make an impact. You HAVE made an impact--of sorts. My kids ask to see you EVERY DAY. Esther-Faith watches "Uncle Sam's Movie" and says "Aunt Loooorra. So pretty. Uncle Sam. So silly!" Isaiah is counting down the days until he gets to go fishing with you. Isaac can't wait until he is big enough to tackle you. Sure, we are called to be like Jesus, but think of what HE was to the least of these... always taking a moment for the lepers and the children--societies discards. You do that. You see the beauty in an old dam and some rushing water. And you share that with us. Maybe 33 will be your time. Maybe not. Just keep living with your eyes on HIM and you will be making an impact.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

I dont think you need to worry about being killed at 33. In the United States today, we dont really hear about martyrdom...

I dont know if thats good or not. You know very well that persecution has been one of Christianity's biggest growth hormones. Maybe we're missing something and become okay with comfortable. Perhaps we need to step it up a little, be a little more radical, even to the point of martyrdom at 33. Could youdowhat Jesus did at 33? I think if you can't, the fact that Jesus did gives you grace to continue on the journey. Like sister hennhouse said, just keep up your eyes on HIM, and you will build the kingdom, "By little and by little," as Dorothy Day would say.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...

From the time I have spent with you, I have no doubts that you challenged people as a youth pastor, and still challenge people today; your leadership is not wasted.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dont forget that it was jesus sole purpose to change the world. it is why he existed only to change this world. so dont be too discouraged.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Sweet Peripety said...

Be encouraged, Sam.

My DH is 36...I think he thinks about this topic, too.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I finally having something big to say! I never thought about you being "Uncle Sam" until now!

12:08 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Jesus is the son of God and he is all powerful and knows everything and it still took him 33 years....

4:45 PM  

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