… 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. 1 Timothy 4:12
Sermon Summary: People will look down on you for all types of foolish reasons – inside and outside the church. In popular youth culture, we now call them “haters”. The reality of this text from Paul to his young mentor Timothy is to not get distracted from the work that God has for you. Don’t shout (focus on the people); don’t shrink (focus on yourself) – just shine.
All Types of People Have the Potential Took Look Down on You. Remember, in this text, Paul is talking to Timothy about the potential of people inside the church. Even though we are commanded to love, even inside the church, people will sometimes treat you badly. Thus, don’t be surprised if people in the church or in your family or in your circle of friends look down on you. But, don’t make it to easy on yourself by dismissing everyone as your “hater.”
Remember, hurt people . . . hurt people. While we don’t subject ourselves to poor treatment, we are called to pray even for those who despitefully use us. (See Matthew 5:44)
For All Types of Reasons. In chapter 4, Paul is making Timothy aware of the challenges of youthful leadership. He knows people will test and challenge Timothy because of his youth. Today, as then, people might look down us for all types of reasons. People will look down on you because of your age, your race, your gender, your skin color, your education (too much or too little!), where you live, your car, your physical abilities or appearance, how you talk, who you hang with, your socioeconomic status (too rich or too poor), whether you’ve been to jail . . . the list never ends. No one is immune. Remember, Christ was despised unto death. (See Isaiah 53:3-5)
BUT! In your Bible study always be attentive to the “but” in the bible – a strong contrast is coming. Here, Paul acknowledges Timothy will experience challenges BUT . . . how will he respond? How will you respond? Don’t shout; don’t shrink – just shine!
Don’t Shout. Don’t get caught up focusing on people who look down on you – that is just a distraction. Don’t always feel like you have to give somebody a piece (peace) of your mind or tell them about themselves. Don’t shout – just shine.
Don’t Shrink. Don’t be intimidated or frustrated and shrink from the purpose and plan God has for – this is a tragedy. Some of us fear or weary of what others might say about us. Don’t shrink – just shine.
Shine. Paul didn’t focus at all on the doubters. He told Timothy, the young man to carry on . . . to be be an example to the very ones (and others) who despised him. Be reminded that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by our creator. And he has directed us to make our lights shine. So, don’t be distracted by those who down or despise you . . . don’t shrink from what God has for you to do.
Instead, let us know what God has for us to do . . . Let us be an example to others who are watching.
Don’t shout . . .
Don’t shrink . . .
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16