Scripture: “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you…” (1 Timothy 4:12-14 NKJV)
Observation: Thy youth. Timothy was probably not 40 years old, and yet would have numerous elders under his charge (see ch. 5:1, 17, 19). From ch. 4:12–16 some have concluded that Timothy was timid and reticent by nature, more given to obey than to command, and that Paul’s counsel here was intended to correct this supposed defect. Youth is no barrier to a rich spiritual fellowship with God, and old age is not a guarantee of sound thinking or complete dedication. Men, according to Paul, are to be judged by their sanctified abilities and not by arbitrary standards such as age. [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 7. 1980 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (305–306). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]
Application: How many times have you told your child, “You are too young.” Yes, there are things that may not be “age appropriate” for our child. But, the scriptural focus today is a strong reminder for us as parents. We are raising ministers! We cannot underestimate how God can use our little ones to bring others to Him. That child like innocence, honesty, and true love for Jesus can impact others in ways that adults cannot. This is one thing that they are not too young to do. Regardless of their age, they can use their gifts to witness to others.
From a very young age, our little ones can be taught they can be a minister. Ministry should not be seen to be reserved for the pastor of the church or the deacons or elders only. Let them know that they can serve others too. Engage them in simple acts of kindness and service to others.
Toddlers can make cheerful cards to give to a neighbor who is ill or to take to a nursing care facility. They can call or skype someone who may not be having a good day and sing an uplifting song. Older children can rake a neighbor’s fallen leaves or shovel the snow from a driveway. Helping to make and deliver homemade cookies or bread can also be a ministry.
Too small? Too young? Never! “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity… Do not neglect the gift that is in you…” (I Timothy 4:12-14 NKJV)
A Prayer You May Say: Lord, help me to lead my child to be Your disciple. Use the gifts that You have given him/her to bring others to You. Help me to not overlook the gifts and potential that You have blessed my child with. In Jesus’ name, Amen.