Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. (1 Tim. 4:12)

People look down on others for a variety of reasons. They think themselves superior because of their wealth, their education, their career, their beliefs, their nationality, their gender, or their age. Human nature loves to rank and classify people. We fit people into a hierarchy of worth based on these superficial factors. I became a lead pastor when I was fairly young. (For that reason, I didn’t want to use the title “senior pastor.”) I have seen the occasional person in my church assume that because of my age I am not qualified to teach, offer counseling, or minister to people in crisis. Once I reached out to an older couple who was getting divorced, and they declined my offer for counseling. Later, after the divorce, one of them shared with me that they dismissed my offer to help because of my age.

Paul reminded Timothy, a young pastor, that his authority did not come from his age but from his calling by Jesus. Timothy had Christ’s authority in his church, to teach the truth, to shape the believers, and to correct wrongs. Instead of worrying about his age, Paul instructed Timothy to focus on his character development. Being old doesn’t necessarily mean being wise, just as being young doesn’t necessarily mean being immature. God looks past these categories and sees the heart. It’s not age but character that counts.

Ask God to help you grow in one specific positive character trait.

Jarod Osborne is lead pastor of Pathway Church, in Warsaw, Indiana. He is the author of Jaded Faith (WPH).

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.