Thirty—Starting to Begin

Thirty—Starting to Begin

Though the year of my thirtieth birthday eventually led to great changes, the birth date itself passed with little notice; to myself or humanity in general. It probably depends on your levels of responsibility at this age as to how it affects your mindset. I can only speak in general terms, but I wonder if 30 marks a period in life where ‘idealism’ must be replaced with ‘realistic resolve’ if any real progress is to be made. Not wishing to rain on anyone’s parade of memories, but it does seem that one’s youthful desire to change the world ‘or else’, has to be modified by then, or face inevitable disillusionment. Marriage, kids, vans, Sunday school, mortgages and picket fences have a way of focusing time, money, thoughts and prayers solely on the needs of others. Worrying about the latest ‘issue’ in the news cycle will just have to wait. You arrive in the land of: “I have to think about that,” which means—“I better check with my wife and kids, or else!” (a wise man, indeed).

Luke tells us that Jesus began his ministry at about thirty years old (Lk.3:23). His focus was calling people to accept his Messiahship in preparation for the coming Kingdom—the church. It has been suggested that Jesus started his ministry at about 30 because the Levitical priests began their service at that age (Num.4:3). I don’t know if I am the first one to suggest it, but if I was inclined to ascribe a connection here to the age of priestly service, it would to the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptiser – the son of Zacharias, a priest (Lk.1:5), not Jesus. Even then, both John and Jesus were considered ‘prophets,’ and a prophet’s ministry began when he was ‘called,’ not at a specified age. John and Jesus ministered and died in their early 30s. Though the apostles, and the other early disciples may have started as idealists caught up in their own visions of paradise on earth, they came to know the realness of Jesus’ mission of salvation. Thus they gladly focused their time, money, thoughts and prayers solely on the spiritual needs of others—they exchanged ‘idealism’ for ‘realistic resolve’ in the household of God! Thirty, a great time for ‘Starting to begin.’

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