“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12
I live an area that used to be a retirement community, like you had to be certain age to live there. The majority of people who live in this area are older or retired.The same definitely goes in the church that my husband and I attend. My husband and I are in our 20s so needless to say, we kind of stick out like a sore thumb every Sunday. Don’t get me wrong here, I love our church. There are a lot of wonderful people who attend there. A LOT. What’s wonderful about going to a church of retired people is that there is a lot of wisdom and advice to draw from. There are a lot of people who give hugs, and pray for you, and who have a lot more experience loving Jesus than I have.
Recently, my husband and I became members. This means that we are now allowed to serve along side the retired people in the different ministry areas such as nursery, or audio/visual, or sunday school,or various other ministries.
I find myself relating to Timothy and trying to remember Paul’s advice to him.
“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”
It really does make my day when an older person stops Josiah or myself and says, “Thank you so much for blocking out your Sunday to always be in church. It’s so encouraging to see you here.” That means the world to us, to know that we aren’t being overlooked and to know that there are people that don’t think that we are worthless because we’re young. WE APPRECIATE YOU more that you know! 🙂
But I definitely hear a lot of down talk directed towards young people. I hear a lot of things like, “I don’t know what’s gonna happen when us old folk die, because, the young people today certainly don’t know anything about leading a church or ministry, or even following God.” or “The young people of today are just not Christian enough to do any kind of leading.” or my personal favorite, *pouty frown* “Those young people… humph” *crosses arms across chest*
As I’m being asked to participate in various areas, I find myself frustrated at the attitudes displayed towards me. The church I grew up in taught the young people how to be involved in the body of Christ. All throughout our teenage years we were shown how to take care of young children, how to plan events, how to serve at events, how to prepare large amounts of food, how to clean up before and after events, and really just how to be a useful member of the body of Christ. I was trained up for this time in my life when I’m now a young wife and young member of a church. I was trained then so I wouldn’t have to be trained now and I’d be ready to jump in and serve.
When people beg me to get involved, yet assume that I have absolutely no experience or even common sense, it can be really frustrating. It’s frustrating when people seem flabbergasted that I know how to hold a baby, or when people are completely speechless that I know how to cook dinner for my husband let alone cook for large amounts of people. It frustrates me when I’m treated as if I’ve been in solitary confinement my whole life and I’m just now being exposed to the world. The church I grew up in as well as my parents made sure that when I became an adult, I was ready to act like one. I was trained so that I could use my gifts, not so that I could be treated as if I know nothing. I was incredibly blessed to have a background that not many my age have had. I have been incredibly blessed to have had a lot of useful training. I just wish that people would understand that I have had some kind of training and that I know how to serve. I wish that people would understand that not all 20 somethings are out on the street rioting from the election, crying in their college ‘safe places’, or lazy bums who expect everything to be handed to them.
So as I go forward, I try to remember Paul’s advice. I don’t have to let people tear me down because I’m young. I can still be an example of Christlikeness and righteous living, and maybe, eventually, someday, people might catch on. Right now, I’m just continuing to do what I know is right: to love God, love my husband, love others, and serve in the church wherever it is that I can.