Never Too Young or Too Small: Lessons from 8 Favourite Biblical Characters!
I intended to write this post a few weeks back, but never got around to it. But I had to finally pick up my pen (okay really the notes app on my phone) when someone I follow on Instagram celebrated her birthday recently! For some reason I was expecting her to be in her mid 30s. And then I see 29! I'm thinking "Hold on.... how has she achieved so much already!" Career wise and family wise!
I know they say age is nothing but a number, but I genuinely feel too young most of the time! It doesn't help that I'm kinda smallish and hardly wear any makeup. So although I'm 28, I often see myself as being younger - and therefore procrastinate doing or saying a few things because I think I'm too young (or look too young compared to many others) and wouldn't attract the necessary response. To be honest, I feel like once I turn 30 - I'll suddenly have so much strength and drive.
Red lipstick and a 4 inch pretty shoe works for me like magic, and surely makes me feel older. But with the many makeup questions I have (and the sad reality that flats are more comfortable), it's hard for me to pull this older look off all of the time.
But thankfully, a few weeks ago my devotional was right on this point! Talking about how we often thinking it's okay to be complacent because we're young (or think we're young!)
But that shouldn't be! The bible is full of people God chose to use while they were young, totally ignoring some of the older & more qualified peeps!
So if you need some inspiration (I know I did), let's dig deeper:
Isn't David's everyone's favourite in the bible? He's definitely my husband's, and I can see why. He was a man after God's own heart! And David has so many stories about him. Something seemed to always be going on in his life. It's great that he shared it with us through the Psalms and other books.
But one of the most fascinating and earliest stories of him has to be fight against Goliath! (1 Samuel 17). It's a great thing I read an illustrated account of this story as a child, because the picture is forever in my head. David was young! Probably around 15. Not only was Goliath way older, he was also a giant and over nine feet tall. If Goliath were older but perhaps short or small maybe it won't look too bad. But God used little David despite his age.
We first hear of David when God was going to choose a king and Samuel had to pick one of Jesse's son. He automatically went for the older ones, until God told him, it was David - the youngest son that should be anointed. The bible also says David was dark and handsome with beautiful eyes! (*insert love struck emoji*).
I specifically like how God said to Samuel - "Don't judge by appearance or height. The Lord doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance but God looks at the heart" - 1 Samuel 16:7
Speaking of Samuel, his mum had already dedicated him to God way before he was born! But that's fine. Did God also have to call him as a youth?
It had become rare during the time of the judges for God to speak to people directly. And there was Eli, old man Eli whom Samuel was living with. But God didn't look at Eli's age or the fact that he was older or more experienced. He called young Samuel (who I imagine was so cute running up to Eli 3 times and asking "Did you call me Sir!?") - 1 Samuel 2&3
Again, You're not too young for God's purpose because God doesn't look at such things!
My husband teases that I must have been born in the 70s because of my love for certain songs one of which is 'Coat of Many Colours' by Dolly Parton. (I recently saw the movie and loved it!) Dolly's mum made her a similar coat, while telling her Joseph's story.
Poor Joseph though. Father's favourite, yet despised by his brothers. And can you blame them? He was one of the youngest afterall. Yet he dreamt that he was going to be superior to them and his brothers will bow to him. When he had the second dream, even his dad, had to roll his eyes and say "what kind of dream is that" - Genesis 37: 1-11.
But of course despite him being the second youngest of his family - it was he that had been chosen by God. Not Reuben the eldest or Simeon or Levi. But Joseph - number 11 out of 12. We know how those dreams finally came true, and how he became Prime Minister of Egypt - and how his family did bow to him!
Unlike Samuel, whose mother willingly chose to dedicate to God, God called Jeremiah even before he was born and had a physical age - "Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations".
We can't be sure of Jeremiah's exact age when God called him physically for the first time - Jer 1: 4-5. But we can infer that Jeremiah was pretty young, because he goes on to reply "O Sovereign Lord, I can't speak for you! I'm too young" (v.6)
And then classic God style, not caring whether you're young or not, He replied "Don't say I'm too young, for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you... for I will be with you & will protect you!" (v.7-8)
Isn't the latter part of that statement all we need. If he's calling us to do something, and saying He'd be with us - why care about looking smallish, or young?
We don't exactly know how old Mary was when the angel Gabriel appeared to her. But in those times she couldn't be any more than 16. Some theologians actually put her age at around 12 or 13.
How could God pick such a young person to take on such a huge responsibility of being the biological mother of His son? Surely there were older righteous women - perhaps even virgins as well. Was He just toying with her hoping she'd say no and then he can go on to some older person? Nope! He probably didn't care about her age - because it doesn't matter.
No matter how young you think you are, if you're willing, God will equip you. So stop throwing pity parties and procrastinating thinking "I'll do that once I'm done with Uni and a bit older" or "30 seems like the right age to start a book".
Do it now. Like Mary, a good response is "May it be done according to God's will" - Luke 1:38
Does it really get any younger than Josiah? He was 8 years old when he became king of Judah. Although we're not told much about him between 8-26, sometimes few words capture a whole lot! So basically we know for a fact that "he did what was pleasing in the Lord's sight, followed the example of his ancestor David and did not turn away from doing right" - 2 Kings 22: 1-2.
We then hear of him again when he turned 26! (On my 26th birthday I think I was still trying to figure out my life). He realised that his ansceetors had majorly deviated from God's word and he decided to ring about change and reforms throughout the land.
Have you ever prayed "God please give me wisdom, knowledge and understanding like Solomon"? That was definitely a most common prayer for me as a child, and one I still say now!
Solomon was wise! Oh my. Remember that story of two women arguing over who owned the child and the wisdom Solomon displayed in reaching a decision - 1 Kings 3: 16 -28.
Wisdom is often associated with age. It just seems to be the natural occurrence of things that the older & more time you've spent on earth, the more you know. But we know that Solomon is depicted as one of the wisest ever - he demonstrated this as a young person - being King at a relatively young age of 20.
Jesus himself was only 12, when during the festival he left his parents and went to sit with the older men and religious teachers in the temple, listening to them and asking questions - Luke 2:41-45. He didn't think "I know for a fact that I should be with this people. But I'm too young. They might send me out, and not listen to me. Let me wait till I'm a little older".
He knew he had a mission, and his age or youth wasn't a barrier. How many times do we know or feel led to speak up at that meeting, ask a question, give someone advice or reach out to someone, but we don't because of how we think we'd come across. At such times, let an image of 12 year old Jesus here jump out to you!
All of these awesome people show that age is never an issue with God. I love Paul's letter to Timothy - when he says "let no one look down on your youthfulness, but be an example to everyone in speech, conduct, love, faith & purity"- 1 Tim 4:12.
So, like Solomon have you been given exceptional wisdom than your peers and elders, but too shy to display it because you think you're young? Or like Josiah need to make reforms in an organisation or group, or take down giants like David or called to birth plans and greatness like Mary! Or to speak like Jeremiah & Samuel? Or you're the youngest in your home like Joseph but have been called to be the 'best' in the house?
But are we somewhere sulking and waiting for the perfect time? or just hoping someone else does it?
Put on a power suit if you have to. And for the ladies, some heels and lipstick for some extra external confidence. But let your first confidence & strength come within - knowing that God's with you - irrespective of age! And with that, what else do we need? Nothing!
Ok that was a tad bit long. So now your turn. What circumstances would you'd ordinarily like to do more, but you feel too young? What other bible characters or young persons inspire you generally? Would love to hear!
pS: If the reverse is the case and you're feeling too old to do something, you know that's not an issue right? Never too old darling, never too old. Just ask Moses, Noah, Abraham & Sarah, Zechariah & Elizabeth and many more
You may also like:
- A Conversation with the Proverbs 31 Woman
- Every Day Life Lessons: From the Book of Ruth
- A little Note on Prayer & the J.O.Y. model of Praying!