A daily devotion written by Dean Collins, President of Point University. He not only brings a fresh insight to the Scriptures, but also he shares personally how God has been leading him throughout his life from a youth in a church youth group to the presidency of a Christian university
The last 12 and a half years I have been the leader of a Christian University. Our mission is to educate students for Christ-centered service and leadership throughout the world. In order to do that we have over 50 degree programs and teach thousands of classes each year. In addition to the classes there are various activities and experiences that help us transfer knowledge and build skills. Virtually all colleges do something similar to achieve their missions. Mastering content and development of skills is critical to success in college and in life.
Timothy was a young man struggling with a tough ministry and who was dealing with a church filled with many who claimed to know a lot of information about life and God. Paul’s words to Timothy say this; “let no one look down on you for your youth but set an example through your speech, your behavior, your faith, and your purity. That’s curious to me. He didn’t focus on Timothy studying more content in order to be considered for leadership. Paul focused his direction on visible behaviors that flow from a heart that is focused on God.
The prophet Jeremiah was also a young man, likely even younger than Timothy when he was called to be a prophet and immediately young Jeremiah said; “ oh God, can’t you see? I don’t know how to speak...I don’t know enough...I am too young for this assignment!” And God said; “Don’t make excuses because your young...”. In other words lots of knowledge and experience is not required because I will teach you and guide you and protect you. What I need is a heart that loves me and a will that follows me.
Have you noticed the older you get the more you realize how much you don’t know! And it drives us to want to learn more so we read and listen to podcasts and sermons seeking more and more knowledge. And while learning more helps us it doesn’t necessarily get us closer to God.
Don’t get me wrong, education is important but when it comes to God I think it’s first about the heart. Receiving the amazing and overwhelming love of God transforms our hearts and when we love better we will act better.
I suspect the apostle Paul who was very well educated might say to the older crowd as well; don’t let anyone despise your age. Set an example for those around you by your words, your behavior, your love, your faith, and your purity. One size fits all when it comes to the heart. We want and need our hearts to be God-sized when it comes to love.
“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).
“Then I said, "Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth." But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a youth'; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord." Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you" (Jeremiah 1:6-9, 17-19 ESV).