The Mark of a Generation
Today I had planned on writing something else, but as I was reading through 1 Timothy I was really compelled to share something I noticed about the passage I was picking apart.
I was reading through 1 Timothy 4:11-16 and came a verse that many of us know quite well: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young…” Suddenly, as I read this verse, countless lessons and sermons started popping back into my head. I felt like I was in youth group all over again being told, “Don’t think that just because you are young means you can’t make a difference,” and I remembered being at countless youth conferences where they told us, “David was a young man when he defeated Goliath, and Mary was only a teenager when she gave birth to the Savior of the world.”
But then I realized something: that is only the first half of the verse.
The second half goes like this: “… but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” As I read this I thought of how easily we segregate one half of this verse from the other. We want to know we can make a difference in this world, but we do not want the burden of having to set an example that others might follow. We want to play great roles that shape our generation, but we do not want to be role models. We want to be world changers, but we don’t want to change ourselves.
This is a huge dilemma for myself, and for much of our generation. We all have a tremendous desire to belong to something and to change lives, but we do not want to do what it takes to get there. We want the end result without the discipline; without the work; without transformation. We feel as if we deserve to drive culture, but do not feel as if we should be required to change. Change is easy of us when it is outside of ourselves, but when it is in the core of our being we cringe.
If we truly desire to make a difference, however, we must experience both halves of this verse and we must learn not to segregate one half from the other. We must play our roles well and must stand firm in speech, life, love, faith, and purity. The core must be altered from what it once was that others might see Christ, because following Christ is not about what we do, its about who we are. Following Christ is not about what we believe its about how what we believe changes us.
So may we be devoted to this transformation as we seek to impact this world, this culture, and this generation. May we, as the Church of Christ, be devoted to the public reading of scripture, to teaching and preaching (v.13); may we no longer neglect our gifts (v.14); may we be diligent and give ourselves wholly to these things (v.14); may we watch our lives and doctrine closely (v.16); and may we persevere in them for the sake of both ourselves and those who are listening.
May no one look down on the age of our generation because they see our speech, our lives, our love, our faith and our purity.