Oh, to be young again! How many times has that thought crossed our mind or have those words crossed our lips? There are so many reasons to cherish youth. The early years of our existence on this planet are typically filled with health and happiness. Children have unlimited energy, enthusiasm, and optimism. They are quick to laugh, eager to love and quick to forgive. Children are the perfect example of godly character. “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”” (Matthew 18:2-4 NKJV) Jesus accommodated and blessed children at every opportunity. “Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.” (Matthew 19:13-15 NKJV)
On one hand youth is revered but on the other we often become calloused. We believe that experience outweighs idealism, and that age imparts infallible wisdom. Such was the case with the chief priests and scribes in Jesus’ day. “But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”” (Matthew 21:15-16 NKJV) Timothy was warned of this prejudice. “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12 NKJV) Truth is truth regardless of the source.
Solomon realized that man begins in innocence but chooses to sin. “Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes.” (Ecclesiastes 7:29 NKJV) The innocence of youth explains how so many Bible heroes excelled in their service to God as youngsters. Joseph, Samuel, David, Josiah, Esther, and Daniel, all preserved in scripture as examples of great faith. These young men and women all made wise choices. Perhaps our desire to return to youth lies in a desire to return to a state of innocence. If we search our memory honestly, we will recall that youth had its share of challenges. Illnesses, injuries, heartaches, fears which all had to be faced without the benefit of experience. Living in the past is not wise, nor is it healthy. Solomon warned that longing for the past is not wise. “Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10 NKJV)
Some young people begin by making excellent choices then drift away. The appeal of material things can take hold as they did to the rich young man who questioned Jesus about eternal life. Despite keeping the commandments faithfully, he was not saved. (Luke 18:21-23) Others, such as the prodigal son, stray but later come to their senses. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! ‘I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, “and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”‘ (Luke 15:17-19 NKJV)
Solomon abandoned his God in old age. His sage advice stands as a reminder to our purpose here “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth!” (Ecclesiastes 12:1a NKJV)