“Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. 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 4:11-12, NLT
Timothy was a young pastor. It would have been easy for older Christians to look down on him because of his youth. He had to earn the respect of his elders by setting an example in his speech, life, love, faith, and purity. Regardless of your age, God can use you. Whether you are young or old, don’t think of your age as a handicap. Live so others can see Christ in you.
Apparently Timothy needed some encouragement. Most likely, so do you and others around you. Each day we have opportunities to support and inspire family members, fellow workers, friends, neighbors, pastors, and even total strangers. People need help and affirmation in their daily lives. Paul modeled five important principles to help us encourage others:
- Begin with positive statements. People who know we will speak kindly to them will be happy to work with us.
- Develop expectations of others with consideration for their skills, maturity, and experience. People will reject or fail to meet expectations that do not fit them. Be patient with distracted or slow learners.
- Monitor your expectations of others. Changing circumstances sometimes require revised or reduced expectations.
- Clarify your expectations with others. People are not likely to hit a target that no one has identified.
- End with a statement of gratitude. People love to be thanked for a job well done.