Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:
12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
Observation: A good example can overcome obstacles of first impressions.
Application: When I first felt called into the ministry I was young, and I often felt that much of the teaching I shared was not taken seriously by older people. As the years go by I understand their position more and more. They knew (and were correct) that I still had a lot to learn myself and that I would face many times of uncertainty and temptation, so their perspective on what I taught was different from my own. Although sermons of those younger years were biblical, my authority was still that of a youth.
Timothy was a young man, a protégé of Paul, and a person who had sat under his teaching and instruction more than most of the older people in the Church at that time. He had plenty of knowledge about the doctrine and teachings of the Church, and was qualified more than most to teach. But with his youth would inevitably come this underlying lack of authority with some older people. But the advice given by Paul is sound. It is not age itself that lends a person to being considered unworthy, it is actions. The experience of those who are older is that they have watched time and time again as younger people give in to the temptations which inevitably come in our earlier years.
As I grow older I have to keep a close eye on my own presupposed notions of people just because they are younger. I find myself sometimes thinking some of the same thoughts that I’m sure were thought of me years ago by my elders about younger people who are in leadership positions. But the actions of the youth speak louder than anything, just like with anyone really. A good example is hard to argue with, or find fault in.
In our world today we are so conscious of prejudice concerning race, religion, lifestyles, sex, and political affiliation, but I think that age is still one that we need to be more aware of. No matter what age a person is, young or old, if their example is good, then we need to show them respect and love.
Prayer: Ageless Father,
I thank you for your grace that you have given which has brought me through the years of my life to this point in time. I thank you for the wisdom that has come from the life lessons I’ve been through. I praise you for the years to come and the lessons still yet to be learned. Please help me to pass along anything of value to those who are younger than myself, but to also be aware that those who are younger than I are also partakers in your divine blessings of wisdom and knowledge, and help me God to receive teaching from them when you send it with humility and appreciation.
Yield: I give up stereotypical presumptions about the value of a persons teachings because of youth.