2 Chronicles 26:1 – 5
No one should despise youth.
Young people can be involved in leadership (1). It is part of the task of leaders to identify younger people who have potential and mentor them. It seems Zechariah (5) was a key figure in Uzziah’s life I think, as I write, of a highly effective youth leader who identified his successor and had him in his home every week for a year to try to encourage and develop him. That young man effectively picked up the mantle of his ‘Elijah’ and led the large youth work (as big as some smaller churches) with distinction. He is now a respected pastor.
Not only can younger people be involved in leadership. It is also true to say that they can achieve great things (2). Let’s endeavour not to stymie anyone’s progress by our lack of confidence in them (and most of all, a deficient confidence in God and His ability to do great things through them.)
Young people can walk with God (3).Many people who become Christians do so in their childhood or teenage years. Lots of great revivals, I understand, have taken place among the younger generation. When I was a teenager, living in Wigan, I became friends with a remarkable young man, David, who was a similar age to me. He went to a local parish church; one not renowned for its evangelicalism. But he knew and loved the Lord. He was truly filled with the Holy Spirit. I think about him from time to time. We lost touch years ago and I often wonder what happened to him. Last July I spent 24 hours in Ambleside, in the Lake District, with my wife Jilly, and I recounted to her a story of a trip to that same town made with David years earlier. We decided to have a day out and took the train to Windermere, and then a boat from Bowness to Ambleside, and back. But we spent our away day predominantly talking about the Lord, and that really was because of David. He just loved to talk about Jesus. I would say he was filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. In 1 Thessalonians 1:5 Paul writes about full conviction, and someone said it implies a cup that is so full to the brim it just overflows. That was young David!
Young people can seek God (5). Like most people, I have struggled with prayer at times. But especially in my late teens, kneeling by my bed at home in Wigan, or out walking the leafy lanes of Surrey, close to my college, I began to have foretastes of intoxicating heavenly joy and to sense something of the sweetness of walking with God. There is no doubt that true success comes from seeking the Lord, and the earlier we learn this the better it will be.
Sadly, as we have seen so often, people can start well and finish badly. Brace yourself. We’re in for another big disappointment with this man. But we can learn so much from him.