Why do we have ages? What difference does age make? Obviously time does pass and we do change with “age,” yet what is age really? And how does it affect the way we interact with each other?
I was having a conversation with the judge of a writing contest this week and they were commenting that knowing the age of those who submitted stories is interesting because a piece that might seem average if it were written by an adult, could be very impressive if it were written instead by a ten-year-old.
Why is this? Why does the status we give or the perspective we have of things or people often change in relation to age?
Age is something God created. Why? I believe in part so that we might understand what it means to mature, to grow in something, to become more of something. Because, if we did not mature physically, intellectually, and emotionally, perhaps we would not understand what it means to grow and mature spiritually.
Eph 4:11-16 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all…become mature…will no longer be infants…Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
Clearly though, there is a distinction made when it comes to ages, but let us recognize, as God does, that each age has strengths.
1Jo 2:14 “I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.”
Pro 16:31 “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.”
Pro 20:29 “The glory of young men is their strength…”
Luk 18:16-17 “But Jesus…said, “Let the little children come to me…for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Many of us know this verse in Timothy.
1Ti 4:12 “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.”
I would encourage us to also consider this verse in reverse as well. Not just as the younger person but as an older person: Don’t look down on anyone because they are young, but set an example for them in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
Even a brief look at Scripture will show that young people did a lot of things in the Bible.
In Joshua 6:23 “…the young men who had done the spying…”
1Sa 14:6 “Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost… Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.”
2Sa 6:1 “David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand.”
Dan 1:3-6 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz…to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites…young men…showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace….Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.”
Gen 41:46 “Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt…” (Which means: Joseph was in his twenties when he was running Potiphar’s house.)
2Sa 5:4 “David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years.” (Which means all the other stuff David did before becoming king, he did as a child, teenager, and a twenty something.)
And, of course, we know that older people did many things in Scripture as well.
Gen 5:32 & 6:13-14 “And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth…. And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark…”
Exo 7:7 “Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.”
Job must have been middle-aged because this is what he says in Job 29:8 “The young men saw me and hid, and the aged arose and stood;”
Then Caleb in Jos 14:10-12 “…here I am this day, eighty-five years old…just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain…” And Jos 15:14 “Caleb drove out the three sons of Anak…”
Challenge: Regardless of your age, be mature and set an example for both young and old in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.