Matt Pamplin has kindly allowed me to post his sermon notes from his recent message, “The Spiritual Journey of the 30’s.”
Snapshot of life in the 30’s:
- Paula Darcy said the 30’s are about saving coupons.
- Life can feel so busy and you are just looking for space in your schedule.
- A decade of establishing (proving) yourself – trying to make something of yourself – Career / family. (30’s and 40’s)
- Life is happening to me – It can feel like time is going by fast, you don’t have much time for rest or reflection.
- Starting to realize things may not turn out as I dreamed/planned.
- Perpetual tiredness – one person said “as a parent – you never get tired, you just are tired”
- Excitement has given way to “normality” – Mundaneness –it can feel like every day is the same – a bit like ground hog day.
Spiritual challenges of 30’s:
Keeping a commitment to Christ central as other commitments come in.
The cares of this world (parable of the sower) – come into play (especially in the midst of busyness) what’s important?
Seeing God in the small things not just the dramatic
Big Picture: (what’s happening)
Owning the decisions you made in your 20’s – realising you have made these choices / commitments.
Learning to be content where you are.
Scripture’s advice to 30’s: (Philippians 4:10-13)
Paul is writing from prison to the church in Philippi.
Firstly Paul says in verse 12 contentment has to be learned and it’s a secret.
Paul says that contentment is something that has to be learned, it takes time. This is not something we fall into or we click our finger and get straight away. It also is a secret which implies that not everyone gets it. Not everyone has learned it. It eludes us, there is something that we are looking for. We want contentment – yet it’s so hard to find. Why because it’s a secret. It’s not found in what we see, its hidden – it’s ultimately found in Christ but first let’s look at what it isn’t
- Based on circumstances – its not based on what we have or don’t have. Paul says that he is content no matter what his circumstances are. He is saying this because Paul knows we think contentment is found in earthly things. Whether he is doing well materially or not. We live in a culture where it can feel like we need to catch up to others or we look around and want what they have. Yet Paul says wanting more won’t make you content. Culturally we are always striving for more and yet contentment isn’t found in what we have. Just look at most celebreties – they would be the happiest people in the world if it was true.
- Based on my achievement – Paul doesn’t say his contentment is what he has done. In phil 3 he says if anyone has reason to be confident in the flesh its paul yet that is not what brings him contentment .
As humans we look to compare ourselves to others. We think maybe if I was better or more gifted then I would be content.
- Being present – Not wishing you were somewhere else or someone else. Coveting is wanting someone else’s life – wanting to be someone else.
We need to learn to be present. To love God in the mundane and normal of life.
- Being thankful – Contentment comes from being thankful where you are at. We are constantly striving for more but because we aren’t satisfied we aren’t thankful for what we have. There is that joke first world problems but actually its there because we generally are grumpy. I was in a coffee shop the other day and the person ordered a drink. They said it would take 3 minutes to brew another pot. If you don’t have 3 minutes you better loosen up your schedule!
In 2 timothy 3:1-5 paul says there will be terrible times in the last days, one of the major marks is people will be ungrateful.
One of the common themes of the new testament is thankfulness. Paul says in phil 4 rejoice in the lord always. Hes writing from prison! Thankfulness is the mark of a disciple. We always look to what we don’t have and yet we don’t see what God has given us. It’s about celebrating the small things. Can I be thankful wherever I am?
- Knowing Christ – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. True contentment can only be found in Christ. He is the source of our life. Paul says it’s only in truly putting our attention and focus on Jesus that we can find contentment. So what has your attention? What has your affection?
- Invest in your relationships – marriage, friends, kids.
- Practice being thankful – celebrate the small things.
- Spend time with friends who share same values – who push you to know Jesus
- Saying no in order to say yes
- Don’t beat yourself up, try to enjoy it
Church support for the 30’s:
Mentor / Invite for dinner. Especially those 10 – 15 years older – individuals / couples.
Babysit – If you are a teen – early 20. Gareth and Joe – my boys-admire them and spending time with them.
Pray for those in their 30’s