1 Timothy 4:12--"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."
In this passage we see that Paul is writing to Timothy. Timothy is much younger than Paul; their relationship is almost that of a father/son relationship. Paul is writing to Timothy, his son in the faith, to encourage him in the work of the Lord.
Age is not always important to consider when we look at the work of the ministry. I understand that older men and women no doubt have more experience than the younger men and women, and probably know much more than the younger, but that does not mean we cannot learn from both the older and the younger.
Paul says to Timothy, You may be young, but that does not exempt you from being an example. Don't let others look down on you because of your age! Just live for Jesus and be an example to all the people!
Many times we may think that we must be older before we can serve Jesus, but let me remind you that God has always used young men for His great purposes:
Joseph--17 years old when he was sold as a slave into Egypt. God was with him and used him. (Genesis 37:2)
David--He was 'but a youth' when he defeated Goliath. (1 Samuel 17:42, 48-51)
Josiah--8 years old when he began to reign as king of Judah. (2 Kings 22:1-2)
Jeremiah--Many believe that he was 13-17 years old when God called him as a prophet. (Jeremiah 1:6-7)
Even in the New Testament God uses young people! Remember the lab with the lunch? God took the lad's lunch and fed the multitudes with it. God desires to use young people.
Paul wants Timothy to know that God can use him! He does not want Timothy to be discouraged by those around him! And the same goes for our young people today. We should not discourage them from living for the Lord, nor should we teach them that they must wait until they are older to serve God. Encourage them to serve God now!
How could Timothy serve the Lord? By being an example to the believers.
An example in:
Word--How well do you know the word of God?
Conversation--How is your lifestyle? Do you really live for the Lord?
Charity--How is your love for others? Do you love the brethren? Do you have a love for souls?
Spirit--How is your attitude? Are you of a sad countenance or do you have an excitement?
Faith--Do you have faith in God? Do you believe His word?
Purity--Are you clean?
I can try to tell you how to live, but this instruction is better learned by seeing someone else live it out. Is there anyone today that can be an example to the believers?
If we as Christians are going to make a difference and be effective tools for God's purposes then we must start doing right so that our lives are an example to others.