SHEPHERD OF EAGER YOUTH
Clement of Alexandria, c. 170–c.220
Translated by Henry Martyn Dexter, 1821–1890
“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them!” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
Someone cried, “Where must the seed be sown to bring the most fruit when it is grown?”
The Master heard as He said and smiled, “Go plant it for Me in the heart of a child.”
It is vitally important that our children be led to a personal relationship with Christ and instructed in His Word when they are young. What truth there is in these familiar statements: “To save a child is to save a life,” or “Give me a child till he/she is seven and I care not who gets him after that.” D. L. Moody, the noted evangelist, once said: “If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God.”
Christian nurturing of our children requires consistent discipline. Webster defines discipline as “training which corrects, strengthens, and perfects.” Discipline goes far beyond merely being punitive. Discipline and training have done their job only when they result in a changed character and the desire to live with self-control. Although there may be times when our youth may rebel and react against their early Christian training, they can never get completely away from it (Proverbs 22:6).
“Shepherd of Eager Youth” is the oldest Christian hymn of which the authorship is known. Clement of Alexandria wrote this text in the Greek language sometime between A.D. 202 and the time of his death in A.D. 220. The title in the original Greek could literally be translated “Tamer of Steeds Unbridled.” It was evidently used as a hymn of Christian instruction for new young converts from heathenism.
Shepherd of eager youth, guiding in love and truth thru devious ways—Christ, our triumphant King, we come Thy name to sing; hither Thy children bring tributes of praise.
Thou art our Holy Lord, the all-subduing Word, healer of strife; Thou didst Thyself abase that from sin’s deep disgrace Thou mightest save our race and give us life.
Ever be near our side, our shepherd and our guide, our staff and song; Jesus, Thou Christ of God, by Thy enduring word lead us where Thou hast trod, make our faith strong.
For Today: Deuteronomy 32:46; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Peter 2:25
Reflect on this truth: The prized possession of any church is its youth. Seek to speak a word of encouragement to some young person.
Osbeck, K. W.
- Then he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify against you this day, that ye may command them unto your children, that they may observe and do all the words of this Law. (Deuteronomy 32:46)
- Let no man despise thy youth, but be unto them that believe, an ensample, in word, conversation, in love, in spirit, in faith and in pureness. (1 Timothy 4:12)
- For ye were as sheep going astray: but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. (1 Peter 2:25)
I agree wholeheartedly that the youth are a crucial to reach for the Lord Jesus Christ. They can easily understand the scripture, and when mine was young we read it frequently at the dinner table, during home school as well as studying other world religions. This latter might sound frightening to some, but it is far better to let them discover for themselves the lies of false religion and grow into a maturity unparalleled by many of their peers; ultimately, this affirms their faith and equips them to witness to their own generation. Separated worship is unwise because the youth/college aged group might be exposed to ideas that have no place in the lives of bible-adherent Christians — young or old.
Satan is crafty and well aware that music has power. Many youth groups rock out to songs that sound no different than what is on any pop-charting station. Years sown into their lives can be gravely impacted after having been prepared by worldly music to more readily tolerate teachings he/she knows is incorrect. We know God assures there is nothing new under the sun so the devil utilizes the same tactics as in Eden, “Hath God truly said?”
The church leadership should have no issue, but should they my advice would be to find a new church. This generational segregation is a rather new approach, and look at the severe impact it has had upon what most consider Christian teaching. Seek the Lord on this, dear parent, and be assured He wants your child to grow up in grace and knowledge just as every adult is called to do for this is how we become useful to Him. We abide in the branch and He abides in us and guides us into all truth for He has promised as much (see John 16:13).
Hymn Shepherd of Eager Youth:
Amos Priestly of Gethsemane AnaBaptist Church, featured in the above video offers more hymns for those who enjoy them, visit: http://www.fbnradio.com/index.html