What an odd feeling: 32.
I remember being 13 or 14 and thinking just how old 30 was, even though it was less than 20 years away. I never thought that I’d be 30. Not in a morbid sense. My teenage mind just couldn’t think that far ahead. 30 was a distant, distant land.
And now, not only have I reached that distant land, but am setting up camp.
It’s amazing how much I haven’t grown or matured.
Poop jokes still make me laugh.
Comic books still get me excited.
I want nothing more than to see a great Superman movie and a very well-done Star Wars sequels.
There are days where I want to see how much I can annoy my wife — just for the hell of it.
Man-Child has been a very appropriate title to describe me.
But at the same time, it’s amazing of how much I did grow, mature and learned. Particularly in the past 5 years, since I was commissioned.
I learned the necessity of tact. I don’t have to always say things that are on my mind. And shockingly enough, I’m not always right. Nor do I have all the answers.
I’ve learned that it’s not worth fighting every fight. By spending all my strength, time and energy killing cockroaches, I won’t have strength, time and energy to tackle the real, big, important stuff.
I’ve learned the importance of saying “no” so that I can say “yes” to the things that really matter.
Most importantly, I learned the most about grace.
During this election season, I’ve seen and encountered very, very passionate people. They were passionate about their candidates and the issues.
Passion is important. Georg Wilhem Friedrich Hegel said, “Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”
Passion drives us. Motivates us. It’s what separates winners from quitters. Passion refuses to allow us to quit.
That’s why we want passionate people on our teams. That’s why we want passionate people for our ministries.
Going back to the election season, I also saw how divisive passion can be.
No one can say that Michael Jordan was not passionate about the game. His passion for the game made him the GOAT (greatest of all time). But, he was notorious for undermining his teammates, driving them crazy, driving them out of the league. The players feared Jordan, not the coach.
You had people on both sides so passionate about their issues and their loyalties for their party– it was (is) difficult to have a civil conversation with those passionate people, especially if you are on the other side/party.
People were (and are) so carried away by being right and supporting the right candidate, voting the right way.
But more than being concerned about being right, we should be more concerned about being grace-filled, especially if we claim to be Christians.
Sure, the Bible says things about certain issues, but where’s the grace in going up to people’s face and telling them they’re going to hell?
Where’s the grace in demonizing the other side?
Where’s the grace in placing the problems and decline of an entire country on the shoulders of one community, because God is punishing everyone because of that one community?
What can we learn from Jesus wishing that the Pharisees would go and learn the meaning of “I desire mercy not sacrifice?”
I think I’m a passionate person. And I want passionate people to be part of our team in ministry.
But I am learning that more than passion, grace is far more important.
Passion may drive our team, but grace will keep our team together, strong and healthy.
And if we as a church and people of God don’t practice grace, then what are we, really?
32. Such a weird number. And age to be.
I am excited to see what God has in store for me for this coming year.
How much will I grow?
How much more will I regress when it comes to potty humor and superheroes?
Either way, I’m thankful to be alive.
I’m thankful for the many, many blessings that are in my life, especially for my wife and family.
I’m thankful that God still finds purpose in me.
And I just pray that my life will reflect the love, grace and goodness of God.