“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young.” Paul wrote that to his young friend Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12.
When life brings us into leadership positions, it’s easy to forget that wisdom can come from many sources other than our own wisdom and experience. And the more we get set in our ways, the harder it can become to listen to those younger than us – whether that youth is measured in age or experience.
Looking for input from those outside our normal circles can bring new perspectives to our challenges.
However, it’s good to consider the character of those we listen to – notice what Paul says after the first part of the verse above: “Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” Timothy was directed by Paul to be a person worthy of following.
But God often uses those who may not have the best character to teach us life lessons or direct our paths. (He spoke through a donkey. I’m not sure what that donkey’s character was like, but he was certainly outside the sphere of who Balaam normally listened to!)
As I begin this new year, I really want to grow in humility – and be more open to listening to people around me. “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love” (Ephesians 4:2).
Paul Merrill writes here every first Friday of each month.