“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak. – Jeremiah 1:7
When you’re young, people tend to look down on you. They may not be deliberately negative about it, but they do tend to do it.
When you’re young, people think you don’t matter. They think that you can’t possible have much to contribute to just about anything because you don’t have the life experience that older people do.
But life experience isn’t the end-all be-all. Look at all those who have life experience that are in charge of things – especially government!
No, there has to be more to it than just experience.
And there is.
Even a “youth” can be a leader and bring much-needed change to things.
Jeremiah found that out.
We know him as an Old Testament prophet, who had a long career. It was also an illustrious career, so much so that even Jesus is compared to Jeremiah by some (see Matthew 16:13-20).
But when he was first starting out, he didn’t feel much like a prophet. His number one reason for not being a leader, a preacher, a prophet, was that he was “a youth.” But God first shut his mouth to that self-defeating attitude. Then opened his mouth to speak the words God would give him. Which is what makes a prophet a prophet of the Most High God.
So I first want to say to those who are “youth” – young people – reading this: You, too, can be a leader! As a baptized child of God, you have everything you need to bring God’s change and transforming power to the world! Use it! I know, it isn’t quite as simple as that. You can benefit greatly from some training – which is what your Youth Group Bible study and other Bible studies at your church are for. Talk to you pastor or youth leader, too.
I’ve had the honor of talking with several youth over the last couple of years who wanted to know more about where they fit in with God’s Mission through the Church.
So I say to all youth and young adults – God has saved you through the blood of Jesus Christ for a reason. He’s going to send you – and you should go. He’s going to command you to speak, and you should speak!
You just may be the next Jeremiah!
To parents I say this: You have been entrusted by God with a young disciple of Jesus Christ. Don’t look at your young son or daughter as the future of the Church – look at them as workers in the Church right now! Train them up – bring them to worship, to Youth Bible study (or some other Bible study), have daily devotional talks with them (not at them). Encourage them to go to Youth Group and worship and Bible study. And most importantly of all pray daily for them!
You just may be raising up the next Jeremiah!