At the age of three I lead singing in the church. At nearly 13 I was baptized into the body of Christ. At the age of 13 I preached my first sermon. It was very short, but I learned from my peers. I remember being encouraged to sing and to preach by mature Christians in the churches I attended. Rarely did I feel animosity or envy from elderly brethren. In fact, I received help and assistance from most in order that I might improve what talents were given to me.
It is well for young people to sit at the feet of mature teachers and to learn about God’s Word from their parents, elders, deacons, preachers, and song leaders. As Paul wrote to a young Timothy, “Let No Man Despise Your Youth.” The fact is, we are only here on planet earth for a very short time, and it is very imperative for mature Christians to pass on what they have learned to the young, in order that these gifts and abilities not die with us.
When Paul wrote the young preacher Timothy, he said, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). In every idea of his call to righteous living, Paul exhorted that Timothy be a model of what a Christian should be.
1. In word: A young Christian should manifest purity of speech, avoiding the corrupt speech and filthy jesting of the ungodly (Eph. 4:29; 5:4). He should avoid lying (Eph. 4:25). A young person should be an example of sound teaching as well.
2. In conversation: This refers to the young person’s manner of life. He should put away the works of the flesh and put on the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:19-23).
3. In Love: The young person should manifest the active traits of love (1 Cor. 13:4-8) toward his fellow man.
4. In spirit: He should be “full of the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18), manifesting a zeal for obedience to the word of God.
5. In faith: This refers to his faithfulness. The young person should be one on whom you can count on attending the worship services, keeping his word, and every other matter.
6. In purity: The young person should keep his heart pure (Prov. 4:23) in order that he can keep his body from sin.
Titus was told to “Exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.” Tit 2:6-8
Jesus calls every person to his service, including young people. Even as he called the rich, young ruler to be his disciple, so also he calls every other young person (Matt. 19:16.22). The Lord has commanded young people, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth” (Eccl. 12:1). Let us consider the Lord’s call for young people.
A person can bring an enthusiasm, zeal and strength to the service of God. As we grow older, the enthusiasm and strength fade away. Some older folks can only bring the leftovers of their life to God, but that it not true of young folks. Young folks can bring a whole lifetime as a living sacrifice to God (Rom. 12:1-2)
Samuel manifested the attitude which every man should have toward the word of God, “Speak Lord, your servant hears” (1 Sam. 3:9). David courageously stood against Goliath, the Lord’s enemy, trusting in God for the victory and deliverance (1 Sam. 17). Daniel refused to eat the unclean foods and wines which were part of the king’s dainties, putting himself at great personal risk (Dan. 1:8-21). Everyone of these young men were inspiring examples of faith. Let all young Christians hear the cry and call of the Lord to obey the gospel and to do the work of the church. Let all who hear this call reply, even as Isaiah replied, “Here am I, send me!” (Isa 6:8) And let all who have labored long and courageously in the Lord impart what they have learned to the next generation: willingly, liberally, and continually, until they are called home to their eternal reward.