You’re A Youth For Longer Than You Think

Millennials think "youth" is no longer a label after graduating high school. But according to a well-known verse by Paul, that label lasts much longer.

You're A Youth For Longer Than You Think

Growing up in church as I did, we probably had similar experiences: messy games, crazy trips, and tons of great memories.

You also probably heard several sermons and devotions on 1 Timothy 4:12. And maybe, like me, your student ministry logo was somehow based on this verse.

Remember it?

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 (ESV)

It’s a commonly used verse by many church leaders. Paul’s message to Timothy is an incredible encouragement and challenge to young people. It probably inspired you as a 15-year-old to become more Christlike.

But here’s the reality: Timothy was likely in his early 30s when Paul wrote this. He wasn’t 12, 15, or 19. He was the equivalent of today’s millennials.

Timothy was a leader among 1st century Christians and an elder at the church in Ephesus (along with John the Apostle). At this point in the New Testament, Ephesus was the third-largest city in the Roman empire, equivalent to modern-day Chicago.

Paul, nearing the end of his life, filled letters to Timothy with practical wisdom. These letters show an older man giving final words of counsel and encouragement to a young leader in the church.

And what does he include to this 30 something? This is an admonition not to get discouraged by people who look down on him because he appears to be a “youth.” Historians estimate men in the first century AD lived until their mid-60s, so Timothy was now “middle-aged.”

Why it’s important today

What does this mean to us, millennials, today? Many of us are

  • Over 27 (49 million millennials to be exact)
  • Married
  • Established in our careers

Yet despite the fact we are in new life stages, many older folks look down on us for our age. We are considered inexperienced, unprepared, and incapable simply because of our birth year.

I realize age is not a direct indicator of wisdom. As someone once said, “Some people have 20 years of experience. Others have 1 year of experience 20 times.”

But how others think and act is outside our responsibility. Instead, let’s focus on us. What can we do knowing people will consider us a “youth” well into our 30s?

Related Post: Our focus determines our balance

Simple. Follow the instructions of Paul to Timothy: set an example for other believers in the areas of speech, conduct, love, faith, in purity. Live a life that does not allow older generations to scoff at your age or consider you incapable of something.

Stop complaining about the perceptions, and intentionally live in a way that prevents others from despising you simply because of age. You’ll be amazed at how much your influence will increase.

Question from Wes Gay, the author.

What are your thoughts on this post? Comment below!

Written by Wes Gay

I'm a professional writer focused on copywriting and millennial issues. As a StoryBrand Certified Copywriter, I help businesses amplify their message and separate themselves from their competition. As a regular contributor to Forbes, I discover how companies find and keep great millennial talent. With a seminary degree and long history working in the local church, I have a strong desire to see churches more effectively engage and equip all people for Kingdom work.

2 thoughts on “You’re A Youth For Longer Than You Think

  1. And never forget: No matter how long you live, your brain will always think it’s 28 years old. So when you’re talking with people like me, who are full of years and experience, remember you’re still talking to a 28-year-old brain. Talk to me with the assumption we’re not centuries apart. Because my brain is convinced we’re not, no matter what my knees might argue!

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