2 Timothy 4:6-8 "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing."

Many years ago I heard a statement made many times in numerous ways. In some form, the statement declared, “It is a shame that youth is wasted on the young.” Never was the statement uttered as a ‘slam’ on young people. It was a statement of regret made by an older person as a commentary on the way he or she lived in his or her past.

There was a time when we thought nothing would ever change, nothing bad would or could happen ‘to me.’ We could go day and night if we chose to do so. Everything was a challenge—not an impossibility or a ‘ridiculous undertaking.’ We were focused on ‘proving something’—what we were trying to ‘prove’ was never clear, but we thought it needed no explanation. With some of the ‘dumb’ things we did, it is amazing that half of us are still alive! Yet, not for a moment did we think in terms of ‘dangerous’ nor did we associate any consequences with our acts. We were full of life, and always would be!

When I was in high school, seniors received special privileges the last week of school. My high school was extremely small with very small senior classes. (I think there were 19 in my graduating class.) Very few students owned or had access to a car. That year, 17- and 18-year-olds filled with excitement draped themselves all over a car—sitting on fenders, standing on bumpers—as they took a rural celebration cruise. They wrecked. Several spent weeks in the hospital. A few were maimed for life. The impossible was more than possible. Consequences were real—something could happen ‘to me.’

For years I served as a camp director. I quit when my awareness of all the bad things that could happen outgrew my possibility thinking. When your fears grow bigger than the possibilities for good you see, you need to stop. It always needs to be a matter of possibility, not a matter of control. No one has the energy for good as do the young!

Being afraid of everything is not good. Knowing when it is appropriate to be sober is good.

As Paul neared the end of his life, what a view of his past he had! Outstanding student, a man ruled by hate, a man ruled by love, a man who knew he never was in control of anything. Even as he approached death, he was like spilled oil and wine. His final tribute to God—only God was in control. His life was nothing more than a drink offering. However, it was okay—he had absolute confidence in God and His promises.

When Paul looked over his life, I wonder if he thought youth was wasted on the young? In his case, absolutely! What about you? It is okay—if you have total confidence in God and His promises! Only He—not you!—is in control. Be a drink offering, not a control freak!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 12 May 2005

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