“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Instead, set an example for the believers through your speech, behavior, love, faith, and by being sexually pure.” 1 Timothy 4:12
I was doing some studying and came across this verse. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably heard or read this verse before; especially on youth days and at conferences. However, this time was different for me. Thanks to God the Spirit, I had a moment when reading this verse. When taken out of context and left on its own, it sounds like a great Sunday school lesson for teenagers. But the beauty of this scripture (along with all the rest), is in the entirety of the message being delivered.
Let’s take a step back. Paul is writing this letter to his mentee, Timothy. Up to this point he has trained and taught Timothy through other missions. However, this time, Paul leaves Timothy behind to get the church in Ephesus on track. He wrote this letter to give Timothy instructions on what he should be correcting and how to do just that. If you read through the whole letter we see that Paul is fairly specific about the issues that need to be addressed. Nevertheless, he also continually encourages Timothy throughout the letter to keep certain things in mind.
That brings us to our verse. One of the encouragements that Paul gives Timothy is a reminder and warning that there will be some who give Timothy grief for being young!! THIS was the point God drove home for me that day. Timothy wasn’t merely being left behind, but he was being left in charge. While we may not know exactly how old Timothy was at this point, we know his age would have been an issue for some who were left under his authority!
As a mother who has trusted Jesus with my everything, THIS is what I want some mentor someday to say to my babies!! With this verse Paul was essentially saying, “You have a job to do. I need you to get this congregation back on track. Here’s a list of the things I’ve seen and heard about and how to address them. But don’t forget that you are in charge. However, here’s a warning. You’re only ___ years old. Though you are capable, there will be some folk who talk crazy and act like they have no home training because you are younger than them. Don’t let them. Rather you need to be an example to them through your speech, behavior, love, faith, and by being sexually pure.” Praise the LORD!! Here Timothy is being a FORCE for God’s Kingdom in a major way though he is young.
We need to be raising up some Timothys at Hwy 231!! In the next post, we’ll discuss how we get there.