“Let no man despise thy youth”
The above text is taken from one of Paul pastoral letters too one Timothy. One could deduce or infer from Paul’s counsel that Timothy was a young preacher. One could also infer that Paul is speaking from experience or that he was responding to a letter from Timothy. Either way it is counsel that could be, should be, must be heeded by all other youthful preachers. It can also be fruitful to an older experienced preacher that is pastoring a church with a large number of older members.
The word youth can be taken relative to different situations but the word despise is one that fits anywhere. The word despise does not mean hated in the Bible like it does in today’s vernacular. Today if a person says I despise …it probably stands in for hate or detest or disstain. In the Scriptures however it means to set a side and to view as being of little worth as in “pray for them that despitefully use you.” or to hold them, that look upon you as being unimportant, in such high esteem as to lift their name up to God.
Paul counsels Timothy not to let anyone despise his youth. That is to say challenge them, with respect, that view you as one to be ignored. In taking other Scriptural warrants one should go to this prideful person and speak to him or her one on one as you would a father or a mother. If this doesn’t work, depending on the situation go to this person again and bring another. We said depending upon the situation. If the prideful person keeps his/her opinion to one’s self continue to work with them in a private manner.
If this individual begins to share their disapproval with others in the congregation then you will need to step up your efforts. If this individual continues to spread their poor opinion it will become necessary to bring them before the church and it may become necessary to put this individual out of fellowship.
All of the above should pain the pastor or maybe the individual may be correct about him. Once the individual is put out the rest of the congregation should keep their distance as not be become infected with the individuals words. The Pastor and one other would do well to visit occasionally to see if the person has changed their attitude and views.
Be careful at this time as Satan will be sure to cause you to question your calling as a pastor and to one’s call to this church. Use your faith to shield yourself during these time.
We have had to face these challenges in our development as we began quite young. We are now 45 and still deal with this kind of spiritual pride in others. One is out of our reach and does not attend church. The irony to this is this was to man that would call and rebuke others for missing church. That goes to show that he was not interested in the MIAs but was exercising his spiritual pride. Another seems to be coming around. But for all those that despitefully used me there were many others that did not and we thank God for their trust and their witness to others.
A word to the spiritually proud. God hates this trait in so called brethren especially if you are using this weakness to sow discord among the brethren. In fact God lists both in the seven things He hates and sowing discord is said to be an abomination. Examine yourselves and do so quickly. God is ready to forgive and make you a blessing to youthful ministers.
God gives us an example of how spiritually mature believers should react to a youthful minister if he is wrong Scripturally but right spiritually. In the book of Acts we read of Aquila and Priscilla. They are spiritually mature and they hear one Apollos who loved the Lord but was weak in some areas of truth. This couple did not go home and speak ill of the young preacher but took him and showed him, a more perfect way.”
Aged believer which do you resemble? Aquila and Priscilla or the one Christ spoke of in Matthew 5? Is your pastor thanking God for you like I’m sure Apollos did or is he praying for you as one who is despitefully using him? God bless you if you are the first and God help you if you are among the second.
God bless those young ministers that will someday thank God for allowing them to serve Him from their youth.