Don't Let Anyone Look Down On You - Part II
In our last blog we looked at how Paul encouraged Timothy to take seriously his role as an example to the other believers. We continue by seeing Paul telling Timothy where he needs to focus and at the same time tells his elders how they can learn from him if they are wise. They can learn from his speech. In the same way, we can learn from their straightforward and enthusiastic speech of our younger members. What has too often become a professionalized process with specialized language for us is still a thrill for them that is often hard to articulate. It comes out not as “That looks very effective and efficient” but as “Oh, sweeeeet!”
They can learn from Timothy’s life. You’ll see some pictures and videos in the upcoming conferences that are illustrations of how the younger people in The Gathering are going out into the world and giving not just their money (or family’s money) but spending a part of their lives in remote and extremely challenging places. They are taking risks that make some of us more than a little uncomfortable – even queasy - but they are part of a generational wave of volunteers, pioneers and explorers. The new missionaries we might say…but they don’t call themselves that.
They can learn from Timothy’s love and faith. Watch for it. Listen to the stories of passion for people all over the world and the extraordinary expectations of our young friends who have a calling to fulfill and not just a career to find. They are in Uganda, in India, in Cambodia, in Haiti, in China, in Russia and Rwanda, in Europe and Ethiopia, in Canada, in Latin and South America, in Australia - and everywhere they are going they are stimulating faith and exhibiting the love of Christ. I wish you could see all the pictures and hear all the stories of what they are doing because they believe the power of the Gospel is as real today as it was in the past.
Finally, Paul says the young Timothy will be an example of purity for us. Not just sexual purity but a purity of spirit and purpose. A purity that is not jaded or cynical or diluted by comfort. It is a purity that comes from a fresh and compelling experience with the Spirit of God and an openness to new ways of seeing His kingdom come on earth.
I cannot imagine a better place to be in the next several years. Our future is here in these young people and I want us all to realize as profoundly as did the Apostle Paul that they have much to teach us and are not simply here to learn. These are our “samples” we show to others to describe The Gathering and over the next five years we want to steadily increase the number of Timothy’s at The Gathering. Not just to make us younger on average but to be examples for us to renew our hearts and imagination and enthusiasm for God’s call in our lives. Listen to our friend Paul again. “Do not neglect your gift and the responsibility of it” I want to challenge the young participants here tonight to take on the responsibility of teaching us, being examples for us, inspiring and challenging us and showing us through your lives, your faith, your purity and your speech what it means to be joyful and generous and committed.
“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.”