Friday, April 8, 2011

Develop the Gift

We’ve often heard the phrase “let no man despise thy you” but I Timothy 4:12-16 says more than that. The opposite of letting people despise his youth that Paul gives Timothy is to be an example. We often pull this verse out when we want to tell young people that they can have a place of service too, but I think it may be telling us more than that. It would be wrong to assume that people would despise Timothy’s youth simply because he was young. It may be instead that they would despise his youth because he was immature.

I look at some of the teenagers I know and some of them are very immature. That is to be expected, since they are teenagers, but some of them grow up into their twenties and even thirties with no indication that they are ever going to take on the responsibilities of life. I look at other teenagers and you can already see that they have it together. They aren’t waiting until they are officially crowned adults before they take responsibility for their own lives and become actively involved in the service of the Lord. Even before we think they should be mature, they are examples to other believers “in word, in manner of living, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

Paul instructs Timothy to “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” These things will only help one to be an example instead of maturity instead of immaturity. But then Paul talks about the gift given by prophecy. Remember that Paul was writing to a preacher. Prophecy here probably means by the word of God. Timothy, like all preachers should be, was called by God and given a gift to be able to preach. By staying in the word, Timothy would develop his preaching ability and doing so would help him and those who listened to him preach.

We aren’t all called to preach, but we also need to develop the gift that God has given us to do whatever he has called us to do.