Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. — 1 Timothy 4:12 ESV
In today’s passage, the apostle Paul is encouraging his disciple Timothy, who he calls his “true child in the faith” (1:2). Timothy is a young pastor in Ephesus and was sent there by Paul to address false teaching that was spreading throughout the region (1:3).
In the previous verse, Paul tells Timothy to ‘command and teach’ certain things. But Timothy was young, so whether he was timid or not, Paul instructs him to, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, [and] in purity.” There is a positive implication: young people can lead by example. Young people can be put in positions of authority, be called and gifted, even if they need to be encouraged to fulfill their roles.
As you have likely already witnessed first-hand, the Lord is working through young people every day, as He has done throughout history. Whether you’re a parent or an educator, consider how you can enable young people to refine the skills that the Lord has given them, how you might encourage them to serve. And may you and I raise the standard and keep expectations high: young people are called and they are capable—more capable than society often treats them.
Today, let’s encourage the Timothy’s in our lives!