Dear Tabernacle Family,
The Apostle Paul spoke to Timothy, his young son in the faith, encouraging him to be an example to other believers, “in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12b). What stands out about this verse is Timothy’s age. He was not an aged apostle like Paul, his mentor, but instead, he was one to whom Paul would write, “Let no one despise your youth!” (1 Tim. 4:12a). In other words, Paul was concerned that some would look at Timothy as one who was not old enough to have anything to offer. That, because of his supposed lack of experience, he didn’t have the capacity or the anointing to make a significant deposit in the lives of others.
To the contrary, Paul sees young Timothy as an able minister of the Gospel. Not only one who has been a faithful follower, but one who is fully equipped to lead. From this understanding, Paul calls upon Timothy to be an example to others, demonstrating the qualities of godliness that should be found in the life of every believer – “in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
In the Kingdom, a person’s chronological age rarely equates to their spiritual maturity. I’m sure you have met young people of whom you thought, “They are wise beyond their years,” and at other times, met older adults and wondered, “Will they ever grow up!” The length of someone’s years does not always evenly relate to their spiritual progress and development. A person can be relatively young, and yet, because of their diligent pursuit of the Kingdom first, be an individual of great spiritual capacity and quality. A friend of mine who leads a mission’s organization from Stockholm, Sweden, once told me, “Jim, in America, you wait too long to place someone in leadership. You prove them, and prove them, and prove them, until you have proven the life right out of them!”
May it not be so among us. Instead, let’s appreciate the value found in the younger generation and determine to receive everything they have to offer to the Body of Christ. Let’s be blessed by the children, because they know the Father, and be encouraged by the young men (and women), because they are strong and the Word of God lives in them (1 Jn. 2:14). Let’s determine to glorify God together, as one Biblical generation alive in the earth today.
Young at heart,
Pastor Jim Ruddy