Jump Start # 3087
1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”
Spring time always is a busy and exciting season of the year. The air is warmer, people are out doing things in the yard, and summer is right around the corner. And, every Spring is graduation time. It’s always a big step and it opens the door for the next chapter in a family’s life. Heading off to high school, that’s a big step. Finished with high school, and now on to college. That’s a big step. Got the degree from the University and now it’s time to find a real job. That’s a big step. And, each of these big steps comes with challenges, adjustments, opportunities, new things and the ending of other things.
It’s often hard on moms and dads as their little ones take each of these big steps. Once safe and tucked in their beds at night, our children are off to universities and we won’t see them every day. The fears and worries rise. Will they do well? Will they remain faithful to the Lord? Every parent experiences those thoughts.
Our verse today is directed towards young Timothy. He wasn’t heading off to school in the fall. Instead, he was out preaching. A young man, away from home, away from his mentor, he was on his own. Some excel and do well. Their character shines and they step up to great opportunities. Others, on their own for the first time, crash. They cave in to peer pressure. They do not develop that self discipline and drive to stay committed to the tasks before them. They look for trouble and most often, they find it.
Paul’s words to this young preacher was simple. Show them what you are made of. You are young. Some may not give you much time because of that. Some may even look down upon you. Just show them. Show them what love, faith and purity look like. Show them this in your behavior. Show them this in your conversations. Let your character speak for itself.
At graduation, some kids can’t wait to get away from home and bust free. The prodigal was like that. Get me out of here and let me do what I want. And, he did. And, what a disaster he got himself into. Broke. Friendless. Helpless. Hopeless. The only thing he could do was go home. And, sadly, for some, this same story will be repeated. Fluked out of college. Kicked out of college. Fired from a job. Arrested. Pregnant. The sad journey home filled with wrong choices, wrong people and wrong influences.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Parenting isn’t a ten minute conversation after you have moved your child into the college dorm. By then, it’s a bit too late if you have not directed, guided and taught your child. The high school years, the college years, the first job and the first apartment can all be wonderful success stories if your child walks daily with the Lord. Spiritual habits such as prayer, Bible study, regular worship can make all the difference in the outcome of these next few years. There is a strong possibility that your child will find someone that they want to marry. That person can be one of the greatest asset to helping them get to Heaven or one of the greatest burdens that keep that from happening. Who to marry? Where to worship? What career to follow? What job to take? These are all powerful choices that are coming very soon to so many families. Now is the time to develop a faith in the Lord and help them to make the best choices.
Most parents thought that when their children were little, that was hard, demanding and never ending. But as they have grown, and now facing these big life choices, parents would gladly have them back at home at a little age.
Paul had confidence in Timothy. As a young man, he was already serving and helping brethren. Paul saw this great ability and wanted Timothy to go with him. Timothy wasn’t lazy. He wasn’t on the fence with his faith. He, as a young man, was already using his faith and making the right choices. These qualities were already being illustrated before Paul showed up.
Graduation time—it’s a moment of great accomplishment and achievement. It’s the doorway for the next chapter in life. Leaving a university with a degree but no faith is not something God’s people want to see. Before a college is chosen, make sure there are good congregations nearby. Visit them. Get to know the people there.
But long before that time, teach, show, involve, illustrate to your child the greatness of the Lord. Talk about these things around the kitchen table. Talk about these things after worship. Talk about these things when the storms of life come. Talk about these things on good days. Following the Lord is the greatest lesson you can give to your child.
Parenting isn’t easy. Hang on. Fasten your seatbelts. Look Heavenward. Pray often.
Several years ago we produced a Jump Start book for Graduates. If you would like one please email me at: Rogshouse@aol.com. This book, as all of our Jump Start books, are free. Be sure to include your mailing address.