Jesus Spent 30 Years Being Boring

For the first 30 years of his life, Jesus was boring. He was an unknown carpenter who wasn’t doing “big” things for God. He worked alongside his dad, using his hands to shape, shave, and tack together pieces of wood. He quietly studied the scriptures, and grew in stature with God and men. He didn’t have a public ministry. He didn’t write any books, go on a conference tour, adopt an orphan, give away 75% of his income, or go on multiple missions trips. He loved the Lord with all his heart, honored his mother and father, and quietly went about his work.

Was Jesus wasting his life? Absolutely not. He was doing exactly what God had called him to do. As his hands ran over rough planks of wood, he was quietly earning our salvation. Jesus, the lowly carpenter, the furniture maker, was as radical as they come. And for thirty years he was quiet.

You don’t have to leave home to be crazy on fire for the Lord. Jesus spent his first thirty years simply working and obeying. This tells me that it’s possible to be radical while changing diapers, or creating spreadsheets, or plowing snow, or doing whatever mundane task you are called to. For the Christian, there is no such thing as insignificant work.

Being radical for Jesus means obeying Jesus, loving Jesus, and proclaiming Jesus wherever we are, whether that’s in the mission fields of Cambodia or behind the counter at Starbucks.


  • Tyler says:

    I have really appreciated your last few posts about embracing normality. Living in such a way is still taking a risk. Risking one's reputation by embracing Christ in whatever context God has led him to. I struggle accepting the place God has lead me to sometimes, but my desire for the glamorous and big life that I have often dreamed of and not getting that has lead me to appreciate what living for Christ is all about. It's about Him. Not our stories or accomplishments, but His. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Gary says:

    You have no idea, how I needed this. Today, right now, after whats been going on and in my head and the self-pressure and guilt and guilt of others forcing you in every direction about to tear you apart. because they can’t see what the Lord is doing in your secret time, but “they” expect more of you. Like my Pastor says, which I need to get it to my heart, “Don’t Allow anyone to put any expectations on You, that God does not” because it only leads to guilt, (these are my words), self-condemnation, self-downing, unworthiness and anything else terrible that isn’t of God that can come out of it. Thank you Stephen. You scarily begin to live for man, and your thoughts stray toward am I pleasing their thoughts 0f me, what they expect me to do, so I wont be seen as less than holy or not walking with God, or Do I love God!.

  • markthog says:

    Stephen, your last couple of posts shed new light on Paul's words to the Philippians: "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain." (Philippians 2:12-16 ESV) After encouraging them to "work out your own salvation," the first specific command he gave was to avoid grumbling and disputing. Now that's radical Christian living!

  • Stephen Altrogge says:

    I'm glad you found the posts to be helpful!

  • Stephen Altrogge says:

    I'm glad that this post was helpful for you Gary!

  • Stephen Altrogge says:

    Exactly! Radical Christian living means doing things like not grumbling or complaining.

  • Josh says:

    As a bizarre side question: Do you think Jesus "needed" to study the scripture to know it in his humanly form? I mean yes, I know by his power he didn't need to, but in assuming human form did he take up our ability of intellect and infinitesimal attention span? I'm just studying for the bar now and thought it interesting that Jesus had to study the scriptures as you say.

  • Lee Ann says:

    Stephen, I understand what you are saying…that we serve God in the everyday orginary things of life, changing diapers, doing laundry, working hard at our jobs, training our kids, serving our local church. I agree. But I also think it can be such a rewarding and joyful experience to do something big for God. Eventhough, I don’t feel called, at this time, to adopt an orphan or go on a missions trip, I am so excited for and inspired by my friends who are called to do these things. It increases my faith and brings me great joy to see God providing for their finances to do these things and to see God move in others (even complete strangers) to help them in any way they can to do what God is calling them to do. It is such a blessing to me to do whatever I can, no matter how small, to try to help them in their calling. One huge thing God is doing in me, is helping me get my eyes of of myself and onto someone else. I am still doing the everyday ordinary things but a couple hours a week, if even that much, I am taking a little time to focus on someone other than myself! (Even if it’s just encouraging them in their calling that God has placed in their hearts) Something bigger than me! And I think that’s my way of being ordinary, helping my friends do crazy big things for God! What a blessing!

  • Lee Ann says:

    Also, I think it’s not necessarily “crazy” or “big” to adopt an orphan or go on a missions trip. It’s just God’s individual calling in their individual lives. I agree…whatever God calls us to do, can be big and radical, if we are following his will for us, whether that be taking care of babies or orphans! And I think some people are called to do seemingly big things and still do the seemingly small things, too! Just because someone is adopting an orphan or going on a missions trip doesn’t mean they are neglecting the ordinary duties God calls them to as well. Some people are just really good at multitasking!

  • Tracie says:

    AMEN! Love this. I remember feeling worthless when I quit my job to stay home with my children, but God gave me opportunities to not only love and encourage my own children, but the ones in our neighborhood. He will use you wherever you are!

  • Orion Kubow says:

    Wow, awesome and refreshing post. Thank you!

  • Larry says:

    Another great post on this topic. Thanks!

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