Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12
For ten years as a youth minister, I would plan the Sunday evening each May when we would honor our graduating seniors. More times than not, 1 Timothy 4:12 would be read during the evening either in my comments or as a favorite verse of one of the graduates. Because of the theme of those services, we usually emphasized the word “youth.” That is an important part of what the Spirit says through Paul, but I would like you to consider the word “example” and the ways he explains to be one.
When I was a child, I was not always good at following written instructions. There was one big exception to that pattern: Legos. There was something about the clarity of the Lego instructions that made them easy to follow every time. It was the pictures. I could see from the pictures in each step to understand how it worked. In adult life, YouTube videos have replaced Lego instructions for me. After watching people fix things on YouTube, I have been able to repair everything from the ice maker to my lawnmower to my car. I don’t have any real training in any of those areas. Seeing an example allows me to do things I did not think I could do otherwise. We can experience the same thing in our walk with God.
Think for a moment about the areas where Paul instructs Timothy to set an example:
  • Speech
  • Conduct
  • Love
  • Faith
  • Purity
When you think of each of those words, is there a person in your life who comes to mind that is a great example of those words in action? There are for me. Most of us have people like that. We know we should be people like that, but we often do not live up to it. Where do we learn how to do those things better? We learn from their examples. How can those who do not feel equipped to teach or have the opportunity to teach help others grow in those areas? We can be examples. Even those who do teach can teach better by being examples.
Look for the good examples. Be an example this week.
“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. – John 13:14-16

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