Bullets, jealous gossip, insults, sharp tongues or plain old lying–NObody likes being shot at.
“Aw, she’s just the nicest person you’d ever want to know.” You’ve heard that, right? Well, even the nicest person you’d ever want to know gets huffy and bares their fangs a little when sniped at.
That’s especially true when it’s unfair.
1 Timothy 4 is some heady, excellent personal counsel from an aging man to an idealistic young one ticked off at being trivialized and ridiculed because he’s young.
Think “All millennials are lazy and have little but whining and an entitlement mentality to contribute.”
See, older and more seasoned people with hard life experience under their belts take exception to their much younger apprentices feeling they’re freely owed what the preceding generation worked their butts off to attain, often waiting decades to achieve.
Truth: there are sterling, notable exceptions to the “All milennials” rule. They are notable because there aren’t many of them.
Tim was one. Let’s sneak up and see if we can hear what this grizzled, tough old apostle’s telling the young man . . . Sh-h-h. Listen . . . .
“Okay, lock in on this, Tim. Everything God created is good, and to be received with thanks. Nothing is to be sneered at and thrown out. God’s Word and our prayers make every item in creation holy.”
(Timothy mumbling, his words not clear, but his voice sounding dejected, frustrated, and stressed from trying and trying to break in to The Group and do what God’s gifted and called him to do, but without much to show for it . . .)
“All right. Do this. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God–no spiritual flabbiness, please!”
(Unintelligible mumbling . . . )
“Hey, I get it. There was a time NObody believed in me except Barnabas. I couldn’t do anything right. Man, I know where you’re comin’ from. But look–you’ve got to teach all these things, Tim. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. You can’t keep ’em from trying, but you can refuse to accept their opinion of you! Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity . . . . And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.”
(More unintelligible mumbling . . . )
“Yeah, well . . . Look, give older folks a chance to get over their distrust. The people will see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it.”
They must’ve walked off, because I don’t hear them any more.
Here’s the thing: being an example isn’t easy. Setting an example for others means
- doing and being all the right things before they’re popular.
- being willing to be the first – which usually means being a target.
If you find yourself in Tim’s place, trying to buck the strong current of public and sometimes even Church opinion to walk as a Biblical Christian, remember Paul’s advice here. You’re not alone, though often it sure seems like it.
You’re giving it all you’ve got, right? Putting every bit of knowledge, experience and effort into getting where you need to go and doing your best. Living your faith; honestly working to treat family, friends and evil, seriously-deranged coworkers as The Golden Rule teaches.
Aaaaaand there’s always at least one of these.
“Okay, wait–in the CHURCH?”
Well, read it for yourself. The Church is comprised of humans – and you KNOW what we’re like. Nobody’s saying we set out to do this on purpose, this blocking people from being allowed to flourish where God’s gifted them. But that’s the net effect, isn’t it? The, ah, real teeth of the issue. And trust me: it’s hard to bear.
“Walk on– walk on– with hope in your heart, and you’ll ne–ver– walk—alone . . .”
No. You won’t. Jesus told us both a long time ago that we’d have our share of trouble in this world. And you remember the other part of what He said, don’t you?
That ain’t cuttin’ it. What’d Jesus say?
“Yeah, okay, fine. He said to cheer up because He’s got the world whipped already. Or. . . something like that.”
Right. So, who you gonna believe, Ace? A bunch of people around you who don’t have the guts to stand for much of anything beyond this week’s Survivor or who’s getting their dessert Chopped; or somebody with the annoying habit of being and doing right?
Track records say a lot.
Paul says to build a good, strong one others can follow – when they shake off the ‘Fraidys and decide to make their lives count.
Pretty good advice from a guy who himself delivered the goods.
I think it’s worth paying attention to — don’t you? After all, God used him to write most of the New Testament.
And writers are really some mighty cool, awesome people when you get to know ’em.
© D. Dean Boone, August 2015