Today, Andrew, our youngest child, and only son, turned thirty. Janet and I just returned home from having cake and coffee with Andrew and his family; and we were reflecting on how strange it is to know that all of our children are out of their twenties and have now come “of age.” Now perhaps I should explain myself. I know the law says that people reach their legal age at 18, or 21, depending on the circumstances, but the real age of “majority” is thirty.
If you think about it, that makes sense – unless, of course, you are over eighteen but under thirty. The reason is that folks in their twenties are still considered young, or just out of school, and most of the time, still “wet behind the ears.” Now that doesn’t mean that Andrew, or his peers, don’t have valuable things to contribute, but those of us who are older look at children in their twenties as still in a learning mode. But once you hit that magic age of thirty, things change. Suddenly, you are validated at a much higher level than before. People take you much more seriously, and you can’t get away with the things that you did when you were younger.
And I can’t help but look back on my own life experiences and remember what it was like when I turned thirty. I even remember conversations that my father had with me when he shared his recollections of turning 30. He told me that thirty was a tough one for him. It was the time when Dad first realized that the clock was ticking and that he had to make sure he had his life on track to provide for his wife and children. I am sure that it added to the pressure that I was born about 6 weeks before his 30th birthday.
As for myself, 30 was pretty tough also. I started one of our companies when I was 30, and we were losing money left and right. I didn’t know how to make sure that I could provide for our family, and quite honestly, I don’t have fond memories of that year of my life. Andrew was already several years old when I turned 30, and I hope he has successes that my father and I didn’t have the year we entered the fourth decade of our lives.
And of course, I can’t help but re-live the day of Andrew’s birth. We already had two daughters, and as much as we loved them, we were open to whatever God had in mind for our third child. And it was a blessing when Andrew was born, at 3:13 in the afternoon on July 13, 1981. He was born at Northwest Community Hospital in Rolling Meadows, IL, in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. We were living in Inverness at the time, and Andrew came home to complete our nuclear family. Really, though, he is much more of an Indiana boy. When he was one, we moved to Carmel, and we are still here.
And while I could devote many posts to all the highlights of Andrew’s life, and how special he has been to us, I really believe that today marks the day in his life that he becomes a true adult. And that can be scary – because, especially for boys, we tend to hang on to the things we did as children – and that dog just doesn’t hunt at thirty.
You might think that I am the only one who looks at life beginning at thirty – but I get my viewpoint from a very reliable source – the Bible. For example, priests could not start their ministries until the age of thirty – up until that point they were in training. And then they retired at fifty – after twenty years of service. Now I don’t mean really retire – I mean retire from their priestly duties so they could mentor and teach the younger men coming up through the ranks; as they were learning to serve the Lord.
And the Bible only mentions the age of thirty five times. Ironically, each of the references has to do with people “coming of age.” First of all, Joseph was thirty when he entered the service of Pharaoh – Gen. 41:46. Saul was thirty when he became king – 1 Samuel 13:1. David was thirty when he became King – 2 Sam. 5:4. In 1 Chronicles 23:3, we are told that only the Levite men 30 years old or older were counted in the census, and of course, the big one, from Luke 3:23, Christ was 30 when he entered his years of ministry.
So, you see, thirty is a big deal. It signifies a real change in the way you are viewed in your life. So my encouragement this evening is to live a life that can be used as a model of behavior for those folks coming up through the ranks. And my prayer is that you will be blessed with many additional years of health and a close walk with God. Happy Birthday, Andrew! We love you.