We have looked at I Timothy 4, in the earlier verses, to get some instruction from Paul in regard to teens in our churches. We have seen where Paul shows us that the teen years are filled with an abundance of energy which should be put to use for the preparation and service of the Lord. We now come to another point that Paul seems to stress to Timothy. Let’s look at I Timothy 4:13-14.
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.(I Timothy 4:13, 14)
The second point, which Paul seems to give Timothy, is that young people have ample time.
Time is a hot commodity in corporate America, as people are always trying to do more with the time they have. But how important is it, really? Well, it’s all in your perception. Consider the following:
- To realize the value of one year, ask a student who failed a grade.
- To realize the value of one month, ask the mother of a premature baby.
- To realize the value of one week, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
- To realize the value of one day, ask a daily wage laborer with kids to feed.
- To realize the value of one hour, ask two people in love who are waiting to meet.
- To realize the value of one minute, ask the person who missed the train.
- To realize the value of one second, ask the person who just avoided an accident.
- To realize the value of one millisecond, ask the person who won a silver Olympic medal.
Teens have more time because they have limited responsibility. Most teens don’t have adult responsibilities. A teen’s schedule goes something like this on Saturdays and during the summer months:
He rolls out of bed whenever he feels led! After stretching, yawning, and washing his face, he stumbles into the kitchen for breakfast. While eating, he catches the latest news in the paper, by glancing down the front page to be sure there’s no world war, and then he skips to the more important sections—the sports page and the comics. About 11:30, he ambles out to the garage, rolls up his sleeves, looks for the rake and lawn mower, but to his astonishment, his Dad or Mom have already started the work on the yard. “Amazing,” he thinks to himself. “They seem so self-motivated, and it’s just the yard, isn’t it?” He is happy, though, that they have relieved him of that duty because he did have a lot on his schedule today. He then takes a grueling two block walk to a friend’s house before he rushes back for lunch, which is now late because of losing track of time. After lunch, he runs down to the gym or to a nearby park where he becomes exhausted watching the buses go by or shooting a little basketball. He then makes it home just in time for supper. After supper, he charges up to his room, dresses, and rushes out for a fun activity. Finally, about 10:00 at night, he’s home again, totally worn out from his exhausting day.
We have exaggerated this fictitious story but most would understand the point. Young people do not have the heavier responsibilities of working to cover the cost of living—such as, paying rent, paying utilities, and paying for food consumption. In the 20th century, adolescence has become a time to waste time and not make yourself profitable. Paul is contradicting this 20th century philosophy that is so prevalent today. Because a young person has limited responsibility at this time of his life, he should use that time to study and make himself mentally useful. Physically, a young person should be learning skills to be a benefit to the Lord and to society. So many today say maturing is just a physical change in one’s body, but it is more than that. There is spiritual, emotional, and mental maturing; and this must be stimulated by using the time as a young person to mature in these areas before the stress and pressure of heavier time constraints come into his life.
Teenager, how do you spend your time?
Talking on the phone?
Goofing off with friends?
Studying the Word of God?
Reading good Christian books?