“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
Apostle Paul gave this exhortation to a young minister named Timothy, who was leading a church in Ephesus in his late 20s. Even by today’s standard, he was exceptionally young to lead an entire congregation. God could’ve selected someone much older and wiser than young and inexperienced Timothy to lead Ephesus Church. However, in His sovereign and perfect plan, God specially picked out Timothy to bear the responsibility of leading the church.
When I read this verse for the first time many years ago, I couldn’t understand why leading a church at a young age can be problematic. But now that I’m more experienced in Christian ministry, I began to realize the pressure and challenge Timothy had to face. Especially in an Eastern culture like ours and his, people question and challenge your authority and ability as a leader when you are young.
For this reason, Apostle Paul teaches Timothy to gain people’s trust and respect by living a model life. He says, “Be an example to all believer in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” Here, we find a principle of Christian leadership. Christian leaders lead others by setting an example. We don’t lead others by age, credentials, or persuasive speech, but by demonstrating the likeness of Christ.
Do you want to influence others? Do you want to see your friends and family coming to Christ through you? Then focus on your words and action to reveal Christ. Be an example to all people in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. Modeling Christ is more respectable and honorable than old age or any credential, and it will give you a strong foundation to lead others.