Be Thou An Example

Praying Boy

Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou and example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. ~1 Timothy 4:12

Not to long ago I wrote a guest post for Devoted Generation explaining why teenagers aren’t excused from doing hard, responsible things like caring for orphans. If you haven’t already read it, you might want to do so now. It’s a good companion post to this one.

you probably know that we young people should do hard things, but why is it so important? Why does Paul specifically exhort a younger brother to be an example of the believers? I’m sure there are many, many more reasons, but two have been coming to my mind lately.

Adults Notice Young PeopleKatia with McKennaugh
We all know that adults take notice when teenagers do something that’s a bit above average. They’re more willing to excuse our stumbles and applaud our successes. They’re also more likely to start doing something hard if a teenager is doing it. It’s in human nature to feel challenged when someone younger or with less resources does something positive. I experienced this the other day as I read through some of the backlogged posts on the The Rebelution. Reading about an five-year-old who raised $3,700 for a homeless shelter, an eight-year-old who donated 869 boxes of crayons to kids with disabilities, and a seventeen-year-old who gave up everything to follow Christ made me go, “whoa, if they can do all that I should be able to do at least as well.” A lot of times adults have the same reaction to teens doing hard things. If we’re doing our best to help orphans with the means we have, adults are sure to add their hitting power to the game.

Refreshing Those In The BattleKitanda Project
Okay, so teen involvement can help encourage others to get involved, but what about those already working to help orphans? Helping orphans is hard, emotionally draining work. The complications, huge need, and overwhelming scope is exhausting and scary to even think about. Consider how hard it must be for those who have devoted their lives to helping these children. These are the adoptive families, the Christian social workers, the missionaries, the orphanage staffs, the speakers, the fundraisers, the awareness raisers, the lawyers…the list goes on and on. These are the people we need more of. The people who are our heroes. But their work is difficult.

The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head. ~Proverbs 20:29

Go ahead and smile a little. The wording of verses like this always amuses me a little too. But the truth this verse communicates is so applicable. We young people have the energy, enthusiasm, and optimism that so often gets lost over a lifetime of thankless work. Stress, heartbreak, and unreached dreams can leave adults feeling worn and cynical. Young people who want to encourage them and jump in to work with them might be just what they need. These people have the experience we lack, and we have the energy they’re running out of. Sounds like a perfect opportunity for team work, don’t you think? Remember Moses praying for the armies of Israel in Exodus?

And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. ~Exodus 17:11

We can be like Aaron and Hur to the adults already in the battle.

Being young closes some doors in the world of orphan care, but it opens others that will never be available to us again. Let’s not waste the opportunities we have now wishing for the ones we’ll have later!

What can you do to encourage people to help orphans by setting an example? How can we encourage those already working in orphan care? Share your thoughts!

P.S. The pictures in this post are linked to stories of teens in action and ways teens can help. Just click the pics to explore!

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