Cherish Your Youth

Ericka Loynes

Read: 1 Timothy 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Let no one despise you for your youth. (4:12)

When I was in elementary school, I handed my mom an emotional letter asking her to meet with me. “Dear Mom,” I wrote, “Will you talk to me about being young? What’s so good about being young? I love you, but I just want to be BIG!” I perceived the roles and responsibilities of adulthood to be much better suited for me, and I was eager to shed my current childhood status. Why did I have to be small?

In many cultures, including the culture around Timothy, children are treated like second-class citizens. Children should do as they are told and are given little respect. Even though Timothy was already a young adult, Paul urges him not to allow anyone to look down on him because of his age. The key to him having an effective ministry was not based on his earthly years but on his spiritual maturity. Paul challenges Timothy to continue living the godly lifestyle he’s been called to since childhood.

God uses adults and children alike. He does not determine our worth by our age or by our ability to work. Instead, he looks for a clean heart, a humble spirit, a cheerful giver, a listening ear, a pure worshiper, an obedient response, a willing vessel, an open hand, and a perfect praise—no matter the age! Remember, “children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him” (Ps. 127:3 NLT). —Ericka Loynes

As you pray, reflect on God’s work in children and resist the urge to dismiss a child’s worth.