Sunday, January 3, 2016

Chapter 19 Redux

Since I mistakenly posted my blog on Chapter 19 of Making the Road by Walking several weeks ago, REDUX came to my mind.  Let's bring consideration of that chapter back, revive it.

Our Scriptures  this Sunday gave us not only pictures of two young men Jesus and Timothy but the reactions of several people to these obviously precocious young men.  Men?  I'll give you that Timothy was a man but Jesus at age 12?  Well, at least close to it.  Jewish boys were said to be men at 13 and Jesus like some of our young people may have been saying, "I'm twelve and a half or twelve and three quarters" and feeling very 'adult'.  As we heard in our sermon, Jesus was fully human and fully God and was surely living in the tension of his childhood obligations to his parents and others around him yet increasingly aware of the grown man obligations on his life both at twelve and in the future.  Jesus certainly was acting an adult role -theological questioning and debate with the temple teachers.  And Timothy?  He was certainly young yet already in a leadership position in a community of new believers. We know their stories.  Let's look at some other actors in these men's lives.

Jesus' parents were upset with him and basically did what we would call fussing at him for his staying in the temple engaged with matters of his growing faith and knowledge.  They wanted this young Jesus to be a dutiful, obedient son.  They wanted him to fulfill his culture's expected role.

The temple teachers obviously found Jesus' attention, questions and his answers impressive enough to sit and discuss scripture with him for two days.  They wanted to both learn from him and encourage him to pursue a teacher/learner role.

Paul saw a need in Ephesus in a new community of Christ followers for a wise, prayerful, loving leader.  He could have filled this role himself, but instead gave full support to a young Timothy and followed up with wise counsel delivered in a thoughtful letter.  Not only did he give wise counsel; he gave strong encouragement.

*  Jesus' parents weren't bad parents. They were worried and upset and most likely too near     him to yet see his potential.

*  The teachers didn't know Jesus' past childish mistakes and errors. They weren't tasked to    help him conform to his cultural background.  They experienced him as a wise stranger        and by accepting him helped him find more about where he could serve God and mature      in his faith.

*  Paul saw great potential in a young person who had been raised well by two wise female       relatives and helped  him find where he could serve God and mature.
    Paul was not a parent to Timothy.  He could not be blamed if Timothy failed to grow in his     faith. Paul only saw two things.  A need in God's kingdom and a man he thought could         fill that need.

All of us as adults can fit into the life of some child or youth in one of these ways. What role can YOU play in the development of a young person?  Can you raise a boy or girl wisely as a parent? Can you interact with a child as a growing believer?  Can you point a child or youth to Godly work that fits their gifts?  Can you help some young person learn to make the road while walking?  

Now,  if you skipped it three weeks ago or forgot it, go back on the blog and read that original blog about this chapter.  Are you still who you were at twelve years old?  Have you grown?  Have you changed?  Who helped you walk the road?

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