In Timothy 4:12, we read a comment from the writer of the letter (Paul) written to encourage the recipient (Timothy) which goes as follows “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” He tells him to not allow his youth to be an influencing factor in how people treat him or consider what he has to say. Then he qualifies his words, helping Timothy to process and make this a reality. Basically, he says that if others see the way you live, they will show you the respect and listen to what you have to say, in the way you hope they will.
Sometimes we are guilty of weighing up what people have to say in light of their young age. And, just as errantly, we consider what the grey heads say as valid because they are old.
The writer is pointing out a very important principle – no matter where we find ourselves in life. No matter your age, gender, race or experience, as Christians, we are qualified by our lives – private as well as public. Character supersedes charisma, lifestyle overrides bank balance, wisdom wins over age and results do not justify the process.
The way we live our lives will determine whether others are listening or merely hearing.
Brian Dean is pastor with Lakeview Church in Quesnel.