Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT)
I heard a story not too long ago about a young boy. He visited a church, mostly because one of his friends invited him. It was a strange experience to say the least. About halfway through the church service, this boy and his friend decided to sneak out the back door and take off. As they exited the church a deacon chased after them and caught them before they left the parking lot. He asked them why they were leaving, and the reply he got from the boys was that they were bored. This older man, the deacon, told them, “You can’t leave yet. You’ll miss the good stuff!” After a bit of back-and-forth, the kids decided to go back in for this “good stuff.” Sure enough, at the end of the sermon, the preacher presented the gospel message, the good news about Jesus Christ. The little boy’s heart melted and he accepted Jesus into his life right then and there. When the boy arrived home, his family, who did not know Jesus, saw that there was something different in their kid. He presented the same gospel to them he had just heard at church. A few weeks later, the entire family was baptized together.
The reason that this boy came into the family of God wasn’t because of the preacher. It wasn’t because of the song service (Though these played a role). It was because of the deacon. When the deacon saw the boys run out the back door, he didn’t roll his eyes, or think “Thank goodness those noisy kids are gone.” He pursued them because, to him, they had value. Not only that, he knew they had unlimited value to Jesus. It was the deacon who didn’t give up when they had excuses, but convinced them to come back. It was only then that this young boy got to hear the gospel, and his life, and his family’s lives, were transformed.
The apostle Paul talks about finding value in everyone, regardless of age. He also knew that even the kids, teens, and young adults, could make a huge impact for the Kingdom of God. He wrote, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”
I challenge you to invest in the kids God has put in your path. Encourage them in their faith. Call them back when they seem distant. Be the deacon in their life.