Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
Youthfulness shouldn’t stop anyone from achievement. It certainly didn’t stop eleven-year-old Mikaila. Instead of putting up a lemonade stand, Mikaila opened a lemonade business. Me & the Bees Lemonade started with her grandmother’s recipe and eventually earned a $60,000 investment from investors on the television show Shark Tank. She also signed a contract with a major grocer to sell her lemonade at fifty-five of the chain’s stores.
Mikaila’s drive and dreams point us back to Paul’s words to Timothy: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young” (1 Timothy 4:12).
Timothy, though not a child like Mikaila, was likely considerably younger than most in his congregation. After interning with the apostle Paul, some thought that Timothy wasn’t mature enough to lead them. Instead of telling him to prove himself by showing his credentials, Paul encouraged Timothy to demonstrate spiritual maturity by the way he used his words, lived his life, loved his parishioners, exercised his faith, and remained sexually pure (v. 12). No one could discredit him as a teacher and pastor if he backed it up with a godly example.
Regardless of our age, we can impact the world. We do it by setting a Christ-centered example for others as God provides what we need. May He shape our lives with the gospel, so whether we’re seventeen or seventy, we’ll be worthy to share it with others.
How has God been helping you grow in spiritual maturity and effectiveness for Him? Why is age not the most important factor?
Father, help me to model what it means to be devoted to Jesus in the way I speak, exercise my faith, and love others.
Just as certain regimens are essential for our physical well-being, the same is true spiritually. Paul’s choice of words in 1 Timothy 4:6–13 stresses the value of spiritual discipline for believers in Jesus—regardless of age. The word nourished (v. 6) translates the Greek word entrephō, which means to “educate” or “to nourish through feeding [the mind].” The Greek word from which we get our word gymnasium (gymnazō, to exercise vigorously body or mind) is used in verse 7 (“train”) and a noun form in verse 8 (“physical training”). “Godless myths and old wives’ tales” (v. 7) and their contemporary counterparts don’t nourish those who desire to live God-honoring lives. Paul’s personal discipline comes into focus in verse 10 where another colorful Greek word is used. The word labor translates the word kopiaō. What’s in view here is labor to the point of fatigue and exhaustion.