When we think of ministers, pastors, or reverends, most people think of stuffy old men in suits. They’re called “elders” in the bible for a reason, right?
If we read our bibles, though, we get a very different picture of leadership. In fact, many of the most influential leaders in the Old and New Testaments have been young men.
In today’s post, we’re going to look at three snapshots of young men through whom God has ministered to his people.
1.) The Prophet Jeremiah
Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.” – Jeremiah 1:4-8
Jeremiah was only around 17 years old when God called him to minister to the people of Judah. When God tells Jeremiah that he was literally born to be a prophet, Jeremiah objects, “I’m just a kid.”
While the fact that God had set him apart for ministry before he was born should have been encouragement enough, God encourages Jeremiah by promising that He will give Jeremiah the words to speak and protect him from harm.
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision… And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” – 1 Samuel 3:3, 10
Samuel would have been around 12 or 13 when God called him to ministry. The bible says that the “word of the LORD was rare in those days.” God didn’t speak frequently to His people–so infrequently, in fact, that despite being called to help in the temple, God had to call out to Samuel three times before he recognized His voice.
God would use Samuel as a prophet and as a mighty leader for His people, and he would go on to seek and appoint a new young leader for the Israelites: King David.
3.) King David
Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. – 1 Samuel 16:11-13
David was anointed by Samuel when he was in his teenage years (though estimates range from 10 years old to as old as 25). Like many of God’s people, David was far from perfect. Far from it. Yet David was called “a man after God’s own heart.”
In the midst of his mistakes, David would be one of the most influential leaders of the Old Testament. An important figure in the messianic lineage of Jesus, David would go on to write much of the book of Psalms.
Is God calling you into ministry?
All of the young men featured above have three things in common:
- They’re young.
- They’re called.
- They’re faithful.
The bible is filled with examples of young men who God has used in incredible ways, and the Church needs more faithful young men to respond to his called to ministry.
As the cliche goes, “God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.” Is God calling you into ministry? How do you know, and how can you respond? Sign up for my email newsletter to be kept up to date with training and encouragement for ministry.