Sunday, September 9, 2018

Timothy, Don't Let Anyone Think Less of You! (1 Timothy 4:12, No Inferiority Complex Please)

"Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity"
(1 Timothy 4:12, NLT)

"[Don't] let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity."
(The Message)

Today I preached the Word of God on manhood at the church. Although I've preached many times before to the youth and students, I never failed to feel nervous as if I'm going to do it the first time. Today particularly, I feel an extra boost of nervousness. I'm nervous not because I'm not prepared or because I fear the crowd, but because I'm going to preach on manhood to men who are older than me that were in the church just now. Nervous is good because it leads me to rely on God and be prayerful; fear is not because fear assumes that the Message is yours and not God's. So what did I do? I preached to myself this verse, God's assurance: "Richard, don't let anyone think less of you because you are young!" I repeated it many times and prayed to God with all my heart until God's Word become a reality to me. When the nervousness and the fear were gone, I preached the Word of God as it is – challenged the men (including the fathers), warned them, and plead for their needs for God to become their Father. I was bold and straight to the point! After I'm done, I became nervous again but with a sigh of relief. An older man came to me afterward and asked, "Can you come again next month?"

Timothy was a young man. Perhaps by this time, he may have been about 40 years old. A man of 40 was comparatively young compared with the Apostle Paul who perhaps at this time was close to 70. Kenneth S. Wuest, a Bible teacher, points out that "many of the elders at Ephesus may have been older than Timothy." Look at it this way: 40 years-old is considered old for an athlete (Lee Chong Wei, now 36, thought that he should be retired), young for minister (Syed Saddiq Syed, Youth and Sport Minister, turn 26 on 6th December 2018), and very young for Prime Minister (Mahathir Mohamad, now 93, the oldest PM in the history of Malaysia. The real Optimus Prime!).

When Paul told Timothy to "don't let anyone put you down because you're young," what he meant was: Do not develop an inferiority complex because you are younger than some of those to whom you minister. Do not be concerned if they do not understand that God has called you to this leadership position as pastor or teacher or preacher. Do not worry if they seek to ignore you because of your comparative immaturity. "Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity." A young man (my age is near to Timothy's) may be very immature in some respects (I admit), but if he is characterized by these things: careful as to his words, particular as to his behavior, manifesting the love of God, a man of faith and is careful as to purity of life – he will earn the respect and recognition from others, even the older ones. In short, Paul said to us to first "teach believers with your life." If these characters are in you, the people "will realize that though a young man there is something about him that marks him out as a man of God, and not one who is careless in his walk and slack in his service, or who are seeking an easy-going life as a professional cleric," said H.A. Ironside.

Don't let anyone think less of you and put you down because you are young.
Be an example to all believers and teach them with your life (too).

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