Forget Taylor Swift’s 22. This girl is coming in hot on 33.
33 years of walking on this earth.
That’s how many years it took Jesus to fulfill His earthly ministry. He was done at 33. He could wholeheartedly say “It is finished,” and it was.
But I’m not.
I remember thinking 30 was the end. I was officially “old”. Now, a few gray hairs (ok, a lot of gray hairs) and extra pounds later and I can say that 30 is definitely NOT old. But hey, neither is 33. As a matter of fact, I feel like I’m just getting started.
When I think about the life of Christ and all that He did in 33 years, it shakes me up a little. What if this was my last year? Would I look back on my life and feel I had fulfilled my purpose? I wonder how much of my life has been focused on making myself happy rather than walking in the purpose and plan I was created for. How much effort and time and energy have I spent on things that don’t really matter? What kind of impact could I have had if I were more intentional?
I’m not going to go into all the would-of-could-of-should-of’s of the past 33 years because, let’s face it, there are a lot of them. But as I enter my 34th year of life, I think I can learn a few things from the life of Jesus that might help me round my next birthday with a few less regrets and a little more purpose, and maybe they’ll help you, too. Here are three things that I see when I look at what Jesus did differently:
1. He knew His purpose was to glorify the Father. Period.
Jesus don’t play, y’all. From the very beginning He was all about the Father. Everything He did pointed back to the One who sent Him. He was selfless in His pursuit to make His Father known. He didn’t seek out or hoard the fame and attention- actually when the crowds got too big He snuck away and got on His knees. Our lives are meant for the same purpose- to glorify the One who made us. Not to have 10k Instagram followers. Not to get noticed by the popular crowd. Not to have our ego stroked. Nope. Our purpose is solely to know God and make Him known.
2. He lived life with His people.
The disciples were a rowdy crew. They weren’t the cream of the crop by religious or cultural standards. But Jesus loved them and lived life with them. His greatest impact wasn’t in the grand speeches to the multitudes- it was in the conversations that just happen when you do life with people. It was in the continual investment that flows naturally when we put down our to-do lists and look people in the eyes and see them where they are. Jesus put up with His fair share of stupidity from these guys (#peterhadabigmouth), but He kept loving them, kept doing life with them, kept teaching them. And He was so effective at it that these men and women were the ones who would carry His message long after He was gone.
Who are your people? Who has God already placed around you? It doesn’t take big events and fancy dinner parties. Just let them into your life. Your everyday, cooking dinner, doing laundry, running errands life. Be present. Be real. Be invested.
3. He knew the end wasn’t the end.
I said that at 33 years Jesus’ job was done. And to a degree, it was. But He knew that wasn’t the end. He knew that His purpose was greater than what time and space can hold. And so is ours. He was able to live the way He did and die the way He did because His focus was on an eternal kingdom- one that will be so glorious and so endless that our greatest pain here will be a distant memory. I believe we would live with so much more purpose and resolve if we truly believed this. Do you? Do you believe that our life on earth is just a blink? Because if you do, maybe what that person said about you or the number in your bank account or the promotion you didn’t get won’t matter so much. Maybe if we truly believed in forever we would not be so afraid to share Jesus with people. Maybe we would go to the ends of the earth to proclaim the Good News. Maybe we would go to our next door neighbor.
As I turn 33 this week, I am doing so with a greater resolve to live with the kind of purpose that Jesus lived with. I want to glorify the Father. I want to live life well with my people. I want to keep my heart set on eternity. And regardless of what age you are, I believe you can do the same.
A few gray hairs can’t stop me. 33, I see you, and I’m ready. Bring it on.