DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR YOUNG
I was in the shop doing some cleaning when I heard a conversation on the topic referenced above. There was a whole lot of background that I will not get into, but my interest was piqued. I was left with question; some of which were answered during the chat.
Some of the questions I had were.
❖ What is to throw away the young?
❖ What does to throw away the young in this dispensation look like?
❖ What does The Word say about the young or youth?
❖ Do we have instances in the Bible where the young were especially sought out?
❖ What causes the gap between the older and younger generation today?
To throw the young away is to exclude them from the decision making that affects the functions of society.
The functions of society include satisfaction of basic needs, preservation of order, management of education, management of the economy, power management, division of labour, communication management, preservation and transmission of culture and so many more. So, whenever the young are not allowed to have a sit at the decision-making table they are being thrown away. Now, there is a possibility that its unintentional but its about time people became intentional about this topic.
This trend is especially common on the continent of Africa where you hardly if ever find the youth in top positions even when they are qualified and have the experience.
Most African nations have leaders who are well past the retirement age and yes, there is something to be said for the wisdom that comes with age but a lot of where society is going is doing away with the old way of doing things.
The youth of today have popularised what I like to call the “the microwave effect.” What this is, is the production or creating a solution in the shortest time possible.
This obviously has its drawbacks, but the merits far outweigh them. Whereas 25 years ago, our elders had to personally write a job application form now we have online application forms that make the process faster, easier and convenient.
Taking the spiritual route, I questioned myself on what God says about the youth and I found some scriptures that do well to brighten the light and value the elders must place on their youth.
1 Timothy 4:12- Let no one [a]despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, [b] in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Jeremiah 1:4-8 - Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified[a] you; I [b]ordained you a prophet to the nations.” 6 Then said I: “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” 7 But the LORD said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8 Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,” says the LORD.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 - Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the [a]difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them”:
Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Lamentations 3:27- It is good for a man to bear The yoke in his youth. These are just a few of the thoughts God has towards the youth.
There is a host of other scriptures that are implicit and explicit in nature to the value of the youth in the Church and society.
When we read the Book of Daniel in chapter 1:3-4 - Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, 4 young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and [a] literature of the Chaldeans.
Even a worldly King with the world at his feet at the time that is; looked for youth first then excellence because he knew that the minds of the young are mouldable and excellent. He did not ask for the old men and women who had already lived out their youth and were filled with wisdom.
Nebuchadnezzar was awfully specific in his request because he knew that a young mind would bring something new, and this is a man who was trying to set himself up as the greatest King on earth. You may ask, but why would he need young people to achieve this? It is because only the young can talk and convince the young. At any given time in any dispensation the age range is that you have the youth in greater proportion hence, you need a voice that speaks the same language.
He knew that he would be able to institute laws that would hold him favourable and in power with his people if he could have the wishes and thoughts of his people in his hands. I am by no means saying pick the youth haphazardly and without regard and place them in positions of power, what I am saying is, like King Nebuchadnezzar- first acknowledge that the youth have something to bring to the table, incorporate their ideas and when you have sufficiently passed on your mantle; GIVE THEM THE TABLE or pass on the baton.
There is a visible chasm between the elders and the youth, I believe this is caused by pride and selfishness and power. Power is probably the most addictive drug a person can be endowed with especially when they have not had any power. Care must be taken when endowing people with power; a process of training, mentorship and responsibility must be put in place for all people seen to be moving in this sphere of influence.
Most of our elders in positions of power today and we see them not wanting to step down this is either because they grew up in circumstances where they were extremely powerless and suddenly, they have this great regard from their peers, and it gets to their head, this is not to vilify them but to contextualise the situation for the youth.
The pride and selfishness are interlinked because one does preclude the other. At the point at which they are in these positions as earlier stated they are now highly esteemed, and they do not want to lose that regard. By no means is this an excuse for the disrespect we see them receive from the youth.
The Bible in Ephesians 6:2-3 encourages us to honour them. This is not something the youth must do sometimes but all the time. Ephesians 6:2-3 - “Honour your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.” The Word is very clear in 1 Timothy 5:1a it states,
Do not rebuke an older man. All this may seem very one sided but it does have an addendum, and this is directed to the elders. Ephesians 6:4 states; and you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. The youth feel cheated and in them managing their frustration, disrespect and dishonour creep in, which in turn is a curse to them.
We know that where there is lack of honour, favour is absent. A lot of the youth have clothed themselves with arrogance and dishonour which makes it difficult and almost impossible for their promoters or destiny helpers to look past their attitude to their grace. The youth need to have a seat at the table and to disapprove and despise them because of it is not only unfair but unbiblical.
In conclusion, the last question is: how do we bridge the gap? One word: Reconciliation. Reconciliation is not easy even in born-again, tongue talking Christian circles because ego is still rampant and pride the order of the day. But the Kingdom is ruled by principles and in this case the principle that rules is Hebrews 7:7- Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. The youth must make the first step since its them that require the blessing.
Any nation that throws away its young perishes