Not Too Young For Great Feats

“George was born in northern Virginia in 1732 to a middle class family.  When he was eleven years old, he lost his father.  Even though his peers never considered him very bright, he applied himself to his studies and mastered geometry, trigonometry, and surveying (think algebra and calculus) by the time he was sixteen years old.  At seventeen, George had a chance to put his studies to use at his first job.  Talk about a job!  Official surveyor of Culpeper County, Virginia.  This wasn’t a teen’s job, and it certainly wasn’t office work.  For the next three years George endured the hardships of frontier life as he measured and recorded previously unmapped territories.  His measuring tools were heavy logs, chains, and rope.  George Washington was a man at seventeen, not a teen.” (Do Hard Things, Alex and Brett Harris, copyright 2008©).

Just a few centuries ago young people were both capable and expected to rise to great challenges before them. However in a society that places such low expectations on them, we’re finding out that they are willing to only put forth the necessary efforts to meet their expectations. The lives of many youth consist of hours before televisions and computer monitors, continually texting on the smart phones which are completely paid for by their parents. Personal responsibility, ambition and drive are foreign concepts among many in this age group.

It hasn’t always been this way. We find biblical example of the tremendous potential that young people may display when coupled with a God-centered upbringing. When king Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, he collected some of the Hebrew youths as his personal servants. Enter Daniel, Hananiah, Nishael, and Azariah. Scholars suggest that these young men were only 14-16 years old at this time. What do we know about their character? In Daniel 1:4 we find that they:

–          Were intelligent in every branch of wisdom

–          Were endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge

–          Were able to serve

–          Could quickly learn Chaldean and all of their foreign literature

There’s no reason we shouldn’t expect the same from our youths in this age. If we are to see a positive shift in our younger generation’s work ethic there are three concepts we must implement. We must first set the bar high. Secondly, we must be intimately involved in their upbringing. And finally, we must encourage them to do great things. If we realize the capability of our youth, we’ll find that we have more active soldiers to fight with us in God’s army.

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Posted on April 4, 2012, in Putting On The New Self and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. …now here is the question: how can we help influence and push the kids growing up in the church or attending the church, when we are not the parental authority figure? How can you ask other parents to help push the time and effort on their children, and when is it “too late” to instill this type of work ethic?

    • Unfortunately this IS the major problem we face in many parts of America today. Many fathers and mothers are not actively, and strategically, training their children in the teachings and discipline of the Lord. In many ways the church’s answer has been, “We need an energetic, relevant, young youth group leader that that will solve this problem!” Although there are many successful youth programs, a vast majority fail to address the actual needs of these young people. Instead they end up serving as “baby-sitters” or activities directors.

      The Bible is not ignorant of young people who are not receiving the necessary guidance from their parents. The common thread throughout Scripture in order to address this situation is PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS. The teaching during Bible classes is essential, but in order to make a lasting impression it takes consistent, purposeful interaction outside of the worship setting. In Titus chapter 2 we see that this responsibility falls on the more mature Christians within the church. Now these are principles we can “cover” in a Bible class, but it’s only by getting into other people’s homes, and having them in yours, that we can truly develop these godly traits in the lives of these young boys and girls.
      The primary example of what you’re talking about is Timothy. As far as we know, he received absolutely no spiritual leadership from his father (2 Tim. 1:5; Acts 16:1). And yet we see Paul taking this young man under his wing. He committed countless hours of personal mentoring and guidance so that he could confidently say, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). Paul treated Timothy like his own “child” (1 Timothy 1:2), and mentored him as his “son” (1 Timothy 1:18).

      This parent/child mentoring that Scripture prescribes is not something that can be accomplished solely in Bible classes, or in doing fun activities in a youth group. We need to see our young people as those who will have the task of bringing the gospel message into the next generation. If we think about them in that frame of mind, we might be willing to invest more of our personal time in their lives. We might see them as well worth our time, our hearts, our sweat, and our tears.

      • EXCELLENT Comment!!! I loved it, man. Thanks for the thoughts and the direction…makes me think. Having the new role within the lives of the teens here has caused me to think differently about them in some respects, and you have helped me with some ideas as a “way ahead”

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