It’s almost a national pastime to criticize teenagers. The older we get the more screwed up the generations behind us are. We complain about the music, we complain about the pointless T.V shows and movies, we complain about the absurd fashion trends, we complain about the new technology that they embrace and anything else that’s different we complain about. You would think that teenagers are nothing but screwballs who wouldn’t know a good thing if it hit them in the head.
The question is, are teenagers just that, screwballs or do they have something of value to contribute to society? The truth is they have as much or as little as the older generations allow. As long as we mentor, disciple, instruct and value them the more they will have. If we criticize, belittle and marginalize they will become angry, cynical adults….like you. If we hear and ask questions about what they have to contribute you might be surprised at what you find. If you shut them down every time they have an idea that involves change they become resentful, surly and jaded by people who have become the very thing they hated in adults when they were teenagers.
I contend that our society expects too little from our youth. We put an emphasis on entertainment and sports expecting them to conform. Yet we don’t know what God has planted in their spirit. When they tell us we tell them they are too young or too inexperienced. We need to move out-of-the-way and let them follow God.
Youth, don’t let an adult discourage you from what you know God has called you to. Don’t let an adult place a “plan” on you that is not what God has planned. Below are examples of youth who shook off societies norms & expectations to do great things.
– Joash was 7 when he became king of Israel.
– Azariah was 16 when he became king.
– Josiah was 8 when he became king.
– David was a boy when he killed a lion, a bear & Goliath. He was also a boy when anointed the next king of Israel.
– Mary was a youth when she gave birth to Jesus.
– Apostle John was believed to be about 14 when he dropped everything to follow Jesus.
– Joseph became head over all of Potiphar’s house.
– Naaman’s servant girl told him where to go to get healed.
– Jeremiah was 17 when he was called to minister to Judah.
– Samuel was about 13 when God called him to minister.
– Timothy was a youth when he took over the church in Ephesus. It was 14 years before Paul instructed him to not let anyone look down on his youth that Paul took him on his missionary journeys.
– Joshua was Moses’s assistant since youth and ultimately led Israel into the promised land.
– Johnathan Edwards (not the senator) had mastered 3 languages by the time he was 13.
– Charles Spurgeon was a pastor by the age of 16.
– Bob Jones, founder of Bob Jones University, was a Sunday School Superintendent by 12 years old. At 13 he preached a sermon that resulted in 54 salvations. At 16 he was pastoring 5 churches that saw 400 new members in the first year from new professions of faith.
– Vance Havner sent sermons to the newspaper at 9 years old, was licensed to preach & delivered his first sermon at 12 and was ordained at 15.
– Billy Graham first preached at 19 years old.
-Virgil Smith was 13 when Hurricane Harvey blew into Houston. He saved 17 of his neighbors on an air mattress.
-17 year olds Thomas Edwards, Richard Dickason, Liam Connor and 15 year old Declan Connor rescued over 50 people in a fishing boot during Hurricane Harvey.
-18 year old Easha Khare invented a battery that can be charged in 20 seconds while still in high school.
-17 year old Kenneth Shinozuka invented socks for Alzheimer’s patients to alert family when they get out of bed. This resulted in his inventing the SafeWander button.
-The River in Tampa FL has an incredible ministry teaching children and youth the Bible, how to put a sermon together, how to pray and baptize and lead people to Jesus. They then take the youth and children to the inner city and allow them to the preaching, witnessing, praying and baptizing. They have seen hundreds saved, baptized and healed in just one year. All at the hands of the young people. The adults teach them, disciple them, mentor them and get out of their way.
-There are countless 18 & 19 year olds in EMS and the Fire Service serving their communities, living a life of sacrifice.
-The military is made up of tens of thousands of 17-19 year olds who volunteered to serve the country.
Teenagers, I challenge you to look up the lives of these people and see what God awakens in you. Don’t settle for societies normal.
Parents, if the organiztions and youth groups you have your youth in are not challenging them to great things it’s time to move them. A youth group that wallows in the mediocre is death to the spirit of someone who needs more and knows there is more.
Parents, teachers, pastors, youth & children’s pastors, do you want to answer to God for talking one of these out of their calling just because it’s extraordinary? Just because it different then your life, just because it’s not what you would call the American dream will you stand in the way? God’s plans will make your plans look foolish.