Truth for Young Believers: Start Now

Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that all the good examples of people who honoured God in Scripture were mature adults. Abraham can’t really be considered a spring chicken when he left Haran in his seventies. Moses didn’t really take a momentous step forward until he was forty, and that seemed presumptuous. And Timothy was likely in his thirties when Paul spoke of him as a youth. But that narrow perspective overlooks Mary, the mother of our Lord, who was likely a teenager when she willingly offered herself as a bondservant of the Lord. And Joseph was seventeen when first taken to Egypt. And in 1 Samuel 3:1 we read, “The boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli.”[1]

Young people serve the Lord, and you can be one of them. “You who are younger, be subject to the elders” (1Pe 5:5) is obviously sound advice – it is Scripture – and Samuel served the Lord under the tutelage of Eli. There is so much to learn from older believers who have more experience. But learning and submitting doesn’t mean you just sit still and never say boo. Serving the Lord isn’t something that you suddenly start doing when you reach the old age of twenty-five. Four times in 1 Samuel 2, and again in our text above, Samuel is called a “boy,” and as a boy, he served the Lord. If you aren’t sure what you should do today to serve the Lord, ask an older believer for their help and ideas in how you can serve. But also, ask the Lord Himself to tell you.

In the same chapter, Samuel says to the Lord, “Speak, for your servant hears” (1Sa 3:10). The word translated “hears” implies a readiness to obey. Samuel was all ears for what the Lord had to say to him. If you want to hear from the Lord, make regular Scripture reading a part of your life. And when you open your Bible, be like Samuel. And when God tells you in His Word to do something, be like Samuel. And when you are in a meeting listening to someone preach the Word, be like Samuel, ready to hear the Lord’s message for you. You can learn a lot by listening well in the meetings of the church.

Samuel was serving. Samuel was listening. So we shouldn’t be surprised that in the same chapter, Samuel was growing. “And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground” (v19). You aren’t too young to serve the Lord. You aren’t too young for the Lord to speak to you by His Word. And you aren’t too young to grow – in faith, in holiness, and in favour with the Lord and with man. Don’t for a minute think you need to wait until you are older to experience the Lord’s being with you. And through fellowship with the Lord Jesus, a readiness to listen to His voice, and a willingness to serve Him, you will grow and the Lord will make you a blessing to others, just like Samuel.

[1] All Scripture quotations in this article are from the ESV.