SERMON TITLE: “Set an Example”
SERMON TEXT: 1 Timothy 4:6-16 (also Jeremiah 1:4-10)
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: June 24, 2018, at First UMC
For several months I’ve known that today would be the day when Stephen Boyer was going to give a History Highlight about our church’s youth ministries back in the 1960s and 70s. When it became apparent that today was also going to be a big day for the youth fundraiser—Save It or Shave It—it seemed appropriate to dedicate this service to youth. That’s why, instead of going to their Sunday School class, the youth are in worship with us today, lighting the candles, giving their announcement, and reading scripture.
Since the teenagers are here with us, I want to take this opportunity to say “Thank you!” again to the youth who helped with Vacation Bible School. The youth really added a lot. By serving as puppeteer, science assistant, and crew leaders, they demonstrated to the children how to be quiet, listen, and pay attention--and how to speak up and participate when it’s time for that. As the youth joined in the singing and the motions to the songs, they really encouraged the children to engage and get excited. As the youth showed enthusiasm for learning, they set a wonderful example for the kids.
Each of today’s scripture readings speaks about a young person that God called into ministry. In the children’s sermon time, we heard about young Samuel, whom God called in the middle of the night to become a special prophet of God. At a young age, Samuel started paying close attention to God’s voice, and he served as an important spiritual leader of Israel.
The reading from Jeremiah told us how God called that young man to speak God’s words to the people. When Jeremiah said, “Ah, Lord God! I don’t know how to speak, for I am only a boy,” the Lord replied, “Don’t say that you’re only a boy . . . for you shall speak whatever I command you.” And speak he did. The book of Jeremiah has 52 chapters; it’s one of the longest books in the Bible.
And then, last but not least, there’s our reading from First Timothy. In chapter one, verses six through sixteen, we hear an older mentor giving advice to young Timothy. In verse 12, that mentor says, “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example.” Learning doesn’t only go in one direction—from the old to the young. The young also have a lot that they can teach believers of any age. So, this sermon today is especially for the youth. But whether we’re young or in our mature years, let’s dig into this scripture this morning and see how we can prepare ourselves to set an example.