Have you ever felt too young to do great things for God? Too limited or paralyzed by your age, circumstances, or seeming lack of opportunity and resources?
Have you ever looked at missionaries, charity workers, authors, speakers, musicians, artists, or politicians who are doing something big for the kingdom of God and thought, I wish I could do that?
Has anyone ever laughed at your dreams or told you they’re unrealistic because “you’re too young”?
When I was a kid, I had the dream to write a book. At age ten, I read Do Hard Things (which Alex and Brett Harris wrote when they were eighteen), and I thought, If only I could do what they’re doing.
It wasn’t just writing. I loved reading biographies and getting lost in the lives of famous kingdom-workers. Awestruck, I read about Christians starting orphanages in Africa, caring for street children in England, rescuing prostitutes in India, flying Bibles to remote jungles, planting underground churches in China, and using their gifts and passions to change the world.
But I couldn’t do what they were doing. It seemed impossible. I was just too young.
Don’t Say “I’m Only a Youth”
Did you know that a certain young person in the Bible shared these same thoughts? Someone pretty famous, too—the prophet Jeremiah.
When God called him to be a prophet, Jeremiah was young—too young, he assumed— to be used by God in such a mighty way.
Then [Jeremiah] said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth” (Jer. 1:6).
Do you know how God responded? Instead of agreeing with Jeremiah and briskly moving on to someone older and more experienced, He said:
“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” (v. 7).
Jeremiah was not too young to do great things for God, and neither are you. The belief that we are is a lie meant to hold us back, because the truth is that God delights in using young people to build His kingdom.
He called a young shepherd-poet named David to lead a kingdom.
He called a young Jewish girl named Esther to save His people.
He called young disciples to follow Him.
He called young people throughout history, and He’s calling young people today.
In fact, He’s calling you.
You can do mission work, raise money, write books, start charities, serve your local church, pray for the Spirit of God to move, or get involved in politics right now. You don’t have to wait until you’re older.
So don’t say, “I’m only a youth.” The truth we find in Scripture (and in the lives of young people God is using) is that God can use you now.
Great Doesn’t = Big
It’s important to remember that the great things God calls you to do are not always big things. Yes, you might do missions work, but you might not. Instead you might share the gospel with a friend. You might write a book, and you might write your parents a note of gratitude. You might take care of orphans, and you might take care of your siblings.
Doing great things for God means serving Him and loving others, whether that’s as “big” as taking down giants and ruling a kingdom or as “small” as following Jesus in the place He’s put you. You’re not too young to do that. God has plans for you.
Those plans might look big or small, but to God, they are great.
Writing a Book as a Teenager
When I was sixteen, I still wanted to write a book but I believed it was impossible. Yet God gently nudged my heart and shifted my perspective. He revealed that my assumptions were myths and my obstacles fears. Through gracious mentors, provision, and persistent work, He allowed me to write a book when I was eighteen—a book for young people like you and me who want to follow Jesus right now. (You might have even read that book. It was the 2017 Lies Young Women Believe Summer Book Club pick. Read more about it here.)
In tomorrow’s post, I’ll share how writing is a specific tool I use to build God’s kingdom as a young person and how you can grow as a writer for the glory of God.
But maybe writing isn’t your passion. Maybe it’s babysitting or movies or music or travel or cooking or politics or clothes. Whatever it is, harness it. God has given you it for a reason—to bring Him glory.
Don’t wait until you’re older to do great things for God. Great things are waiting to be done, and the time is now.
PS: Don’t miss tomorrow’s post about writing for God’s glory (especially when you’re young)!