You are young, but don’t let anyone treat you as if you are not important. Be an example to show the believers how they should live. Show them by what you say, by the way you live, by your love, by your faith, and by your pure life. 1 Timothy 4:12
Life has a pecking order in many things, and we have to submit to it. Or do we? Society is making us think twice about the natural order of things, especially in the subject of equality. Apparently we are all equal, and the Bible supports this in the words of Galatians 3:28: “Now, in Christ, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or free, male or female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus.”
One of the pecking orders we don’t get right sometimes, especially in the Church, is the value of our youth. Paul reminds us that we should not treat them as unimportant. In fact, they are to be an example! Hold it Paul, what about us grey haired, mature folks who have seen a bit of life? We know better, and we should be respected and honoured, after all, if it were not for us, those youngsters would not have a church to go to. We sacrificed to get it here for them. We paid the pastor’s salary when they were in nappies. We should be recognised as the important ones! I ask you, how does that sound? Sounds proud and even arrogant to me, and Paul, inspired by God, must have known this. And yet he tells us that these same young people are to be our examples.
The reason may be that they have not had time to be tainted by the sins of jealousy, envy, pride, or arrogance. They may just be in a better place to be examples than those older, mature Christians who think they know it all. Jesus tells us to be like little children, and Paul says that our youth are important enough to be our examples, yes even to the older, wrinklies in the fellowship. (Note to self: Respect the example of the Godly youth in the church!)