We expect people to express their gifts, talents, art and worship
Respect for gifts and abilities is not reserved for older people.

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt

Read 1 Timothy 4:11-5:2

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

More thoughts to ponder

Respect for gifts and abilities is often reserved for older peopleor at least people who have degrees, people who are married, people who have seniority, people who have been in the church longer, or people who have “got it together.” However “God is not one to show partiality” (Acts 10:34). So we do not abide by arbitrary distinctions either.

We respect the gifts and abilities a person has right now, even though we know those gifts and abilities will develop further as they grow. We are unreserved with our respect.

We call gifted young people into leadership. In that, we are just like Paul, who deployed Timothy to lead older people. It is safe to say that he did that within a culture that was much more conservative about such things than ours.

The question always is, “Once someone is granted the respect, will they respect themselves and honor their place of honor?” It is a challenge to be respected before one has “earned it.” But we don’t earn the grace that gifts us with life in Christ, do we? Grace is a free gift from a loving Father. We receive it and reveal our honor. We don’t wait to serve until the time is right, because we know our time may be short in these last days and we have important news and mercy to share with a troubled world.

Suggestions for action

Pray: Help me set an example for my brothers and sisters in how I talk, how I act, how I love, how I express faith, and how I resist sin.

Be younger than someone for a minute and own your respect in relation to themnot because they give it to you, although we hope they will, but because God has honored you with the Holy Spirit.

Be older than someone for a minute and own the grace you have to give themnot because they deserve it, although we hope they do, but because God calls you to respect them with the same overflowing grace that caused Jesus to die for you.

Do something that honors someone today. One suggestion: stand up when they enter the room; acknowledge that they have value by how you greet them, perhaps with a holy kiss.