Journal 1 Tim 4 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.
Do not neglect the gift you have (which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you).
Practice these things…. Immerse yourself in them… so that all may see your progress.” 1 Tim 4:12-15
Observation: The so-called “pastoral” epistles (like both Timothy’s) are not meant to be exclusive to those with a pastoral bent: the are meant to tune Believers to be sharper and very intentional in their pursuit of God.
Persistence to becoming more mature in Christ is the calling of every believer—once surrendered, it is “full speed ahead” and no “half-hearted” attempts (the definition of lukewarm). Only the radical need apply.
Analysis: “Let no one despise you for your youth…” I am going to spin this differently: “Let no one despise you for your age, either.”
When I became a Christian in the early 70’s, I hung on to this verse because I was convinced that the old were hidebound in their practices of Christianity. They were “traditionalists” in the worst sense of the word. They resisted “new wine” and either hung on to the “old wine” or tried to keep up with the Jesus Movement by offering to put the “new wine” of the Spirit into the tried and true “old wineskins.” Very few radical old guys back then—most all were radical young guys.
Today, it feels like the same thing again, except for youth is celebrated and old guys are put out to pasture. One thing is consistent I think: Radical pursuit of God is still not front and center by the rank and file. Those who think that they may have a “calling” may see this differently, but those who are “called” to be factory workers, plumbers, pool installers, etc., are called to be just as radical.
This is what the Methodist pastor, leading the Youth ministry said to the group that night: “If you are going to give your life to Jesus, mean business. Do not go into it half-hearted.”
Old and young alike: Examine yourselves. If you are half-hearted and not fiercely pursuing Christ so that it is plainly seen, change your ways. Young: do not despise the old and deal gently with them. They have wisdom of life you do not have. Old: deal gently with the young just like you wanted to be dealt gently when you were the same age. Ideas and thoughts need a sounding board: be that for them. You have wisdom of life they do not have. Hopefully you can be a Priscilla or Aquila explaining more thoroughly the Gospel to them.
Prayer: Stir us up, O God. Instill firmly your vision for us individually, for the family, for the local Church, and for the community. Help us to be patient and to build step by step, brick by brick.