Yesterday. Yesterday I was 23 years old and in college, traveling the world and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. So I remember. But actually, yesterday, my 6-year-old and I were playing Simon Says and Simon told me to hop on one foot across the living room into the kitchen. I looked at the distance. I thought about it and said, “Baby, I’m not sure I can do that. If I do….it WILL hurt.” Sigh. So college was actually a couple of decades ago I guess. Knocking on the door of my mid-forties I have “aged out” of the young adults. And when hubby’s term of endearment for me has become “my silver fox” …………well I ain’t as young as I used to be.
So, maybe it’s time for the next generation to leap tall buildings in a single bound. I say Go For It! But those of us who can’t jump like we used to, don’t need to sit down on the bench either! In the book of 1 Timothy, the Apostle Paul gives some advice to young Timothy that we can all follow whether we are young or young at heart. If we are 17 or 97 or somewhere in between we need to take these lessons to heart.
“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.“ – 1 Timothy 4:12
Paul points out that despite Timothy’s youth (and despite my lack of it) we have a mission to be an example to others. He mentions 5 areas where we can be an example.
1. What we say –
29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. – Ephesians 4:29
Maybe Momma was right…….”If you can’t say something nice (good and helpful) then don’t say anything at all”. Are we an example?
2. How we live –
If being kind and helpful and acting Christlike were a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Would the world call us the real deal or a hypocrite? Are we an example of godliness?
3. How we love –
35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” – John 13:35 Hmmmmmm – are we loving our church family, our neighbors, our friends, our family in such a way that it’s obvious to the world that we belong to Christ?
4. Our faith –
Are we an example in faith? Do we believe that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He can do? Or are our lives marked by worry and doubt? Is God’s word alive to us? Is the Holy Spirit directing us? Do we live joyful? Are we an example?
5. Our purity –
Do we tell the truth? Are we honest? Are our dealings with others fair and upright? Do we treat others with respect? Are we an example?
Friends, if you’re breathing, then God has a task for you. Young or young at heart or even if you’re feeling pretty old today like me after Simon Says took the wind out of my sails. A big part of that task is being an example. Help us Lord, to be the best one we can be.