Arguably, the biggest story of the 2012 Major League Baseball season to this point is the emergence of two kids. Yes, we have seen several no-hitters, fantastic defensive plays, and towering home runs—but this season, so far, is about Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. Both are leading their teams toward postseason berths, both are playing brilliant defense, and both are killing the ball. What makes this so amazing is that they are so good so young. Trout, a 20-year-old, is a candidate for both American League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player for having single-handedly turned around the Los Angeles Angels season, while leading the American League in hitting. Harper, a 19-year-old, is the engine behind the Washington Nationals rising to the top of the National League East division. These young superstars have taken the 2012 baseball season by storm, and these two kids should have many years of great baseball ahead of them.
It’s exciting when young people step up to take their place in the world, but it can have a downside. Sometimes it is hard to respect or trust youth. Their maturity, lack of seasoning, and their ability to lead are all questioned. And that is nothing new. A young pastor named Timothy faced the same challenges, but Paul encouraged him to not allow the criticism of others to derail his service for Christ. Paul wrote to him:
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).
While Timothy’s youthfulness might have given some cause to question, it was not to be cause for discouragement. Timothy still needed to step up and give other followers of Christ an example of what it means to live for the Savior. For the young, the challenges are great, but the opportunities are almost endless.
And, for those of us on the other end of the chronological scale, rather than being threatened by the season of life where youth is served, we can be encouraged. The more we see young men and women come forward to wisely engage the Scriptures and the world, the more confident we can be that the name of Christ will be well-represented for the next generation.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain