In 2011, I had the unique privilege of going to Singapore for a leadership conference. One of the keynote speakers was Philip Mantofa, who was speaking to the GEN Y track of the conference. As the name infers, the GEN Y track focused on the younger generation. Philip shared a story with us that stuck with me to this day.
Philip grew up in Indonesia. When he was in the fourth grade, an opportunity opened for him to participate in an exchange program which would allow him to do the rest of his schooling in the United States. He was super excited to go to the interview to try out for the exchange program. He was memorizing answers to generic questions to impress the interviewers. As the pervious kid came out he asked him what the initial questions were. The kid told him the first question is usually “how are you,” and so on. So, Philip, full of confidence, went into the interview. However, the interviewer asked him “how old are you?” instead of “how are you?” And with full confidence Philip answers “I’m fine thank you!”
Philip didn’t get to participate in the exchange program, but he did go on to starting a discipleship movement that led more than 100,000 youth to Christ in Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world. Whenever asked “How old are you?” today, he answers “I’m fine thank you.”
Growing up in an elder-oriented society, I had to struggle against people and the church looking down on me because of my age. Thus, 1 Timothy 4:12 has been a life verse for me. When people look down on me because of my young age, I turn to Paul’s instruction towards Timothy to be an example to believers.
Over the next few weeks I will write more about 1 Timothy 4:12 and how each of the instructions affected me and encourage others. So, today’s takeaway is that God doesn’t need your age or circumstances to use you. He can use you regardless of your age. The next time anyone asks you “How old are you?” you tell them, “I’m fine thank you!”