You’re Just a Kid!

“You’re just a kid!” O how age can be made an accusation.

Every pastor who came out of seminary in his mid-20s knows how this feels. An elder, a member, or the president of the congregation says or implies that you don’t know what you are doing because of your age or that once you get a few years experience you will see things their way.

“You’re just a kid!” This must have been a problem for Pastor Timothy too – for Pastor Paul admonishes him “Let no one despise your youth.” (I Tim. 4:12), and when writing to the feisty Corinthians, he says, “Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without cause to be afraid; for he is doing the Lord’s work as I also am. Let no one therefore despise him” (I Cor. 16:10, 11).

“You’re just a kid!” Pastor Timothy had to deal with that, and I’m sure many others did too. It is a difficult thing to learn how to stop others from despising your youth. It is a much sweeter and more beneficial thing to learn to treasure the fact that you are just a kid!

“You’re just a kid!” I tell myself when things are going wrong all around me. “You’re just a child of God, and just like you do with your children, so God plays with His.” You know how that is.  You may play you’re a monster and chase your kids. Or you wrestle with them and you use just enough force to frustrate them. That’s how God plays with His children. He puts on a monster face or wrestles us with affliction, troubles, or turmoil.

But you know how it is with your kids. Sometimes when you’re playing with them they loose sight of the “game.” The monster becomes real, the wrestling becomes scary. And what do you do then? You open your arms wide and say, “It’s Daddy. I’m just playing with you.” And that’s what God does with us says Luther. When we lose sight of the “game” and begin to fear our heavenly Father, He steps from behind the monsters and out of the wrestling match showing us His smiling face in Word and Sacraments, and He says, “It’s Me your Heavenly Father. I was only playing with you; just as you sometimes play with your children in order to teach them a lesson about endurance, determination, or even about monsters.”

“You’re just a kid!” God’s just playing with you. Though there appears to be no escape from this or that monster, though you’re about to be pinned in the wrestling match, any minute God’s going to say, “Hey, it’s just Me, your Father.”

“You’re just a kid!” I tell myself in another way. Situations, come up that I don’t know how to handle. I do my best and it blows up in my face. Guilt sets in. I could have done this. I should have done that. Why did or didn’t I do this or that? I try confession and absolution. But what am I confessing? What am I asking to be absolved for? 

Sometimes all you can do is confess that you’re just a kid. You don’t know everything that your heavenly Father knows. He doesn’t give you all the facts. Had you known everything you would have acted differently, but, hey you’re just a kid!

I’m sure most of you have a son or daughter like my oldest.  He will do anything to please me. If I give him a chore or a task and something unexpected happens, he feels terrible. But I tell him, everything is okay. Why? Because he did not know this or that. He could not have know this would result from doing that. I assure him that he did not go against my instructions, so how can I be mad?

Now if I, a sinful father, can be this magnanimous with my son, how much more so is our heavenly Father with us? He does not hold us responsible for what He has not revealed in His instructions to us. We live our life, fill our vocation, using the Word He left us. There are many situations that come up that are not specifically covered in His Word.  We can’t know and aren’t suppose to know everything our Father does. That’s part of being just a kid!

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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