My husband, Matt, is guest posting again today!
“Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching.”
I’m changing the game! Today, I’m taking on the whole book of Titus. So, for tomorrow, just read Titus again. There’s a lot to meditate on in this little book.
Let’s do this.
Titus, along with 1 & 2nd Timothy, offer a fascinating look into Paul’s innermost relationships. Unlike his other letters which were written to churches and people groups, these are to individual people. And not just any individuals; Titus and Timothy who were perhaps his two closest companions.
These shotgun letters are full of quick and dense big-picture statements about man’s relationship with God and in turn our relationships with each other. Particularly from the perspective of the character and lives of those who could be given the responsibility to care for a group of people who love Jesus. I like to think of the letters to Titus and to Timothy as a compass of what sort of people we should be striving to be.
Paul tends to paint in black and white. Which can be hard when we live in very grey world. But, that’s the point in his writing. It’s meant to help us get our bearings when the world is spinning out of control around us or inside of us. To guide us towards the light. So, don’t get too worried when you start going through the list of what it means to be someone of great character and it seems so far away from where you are. That’s why they’re called elders. These things take time.
That’s why I tend to not trust young people (like myself) who think they have all the answers. It takes a lot of life and a lot of hardships to produce a great human being. That’s why Paul talks about these wise people having done things like been married and have children. Two things that are difficult and change your life and the way you think about life. And if you live long enough, you’re going to have a lot of bad things sneak up on you too, like losing someone you loved deeply, failing at life, etc. And it’s in those everyday events and pressures that happen over a lifetime that elders are made. Because most of us shrink when life gets hard, but elders grow. They are able to hold the tension of life’s mysteries and contradictions.
And you know who I’m talking about. Take some time to think about, and thank God for, that older and wiser person God has put in your life. The person who is a constant compass for you when life gets crazy. Who always seems to just know what you need to hear when things go bad, because they’re familiar with the terrain; having walked down that road a decade or two before you and learned the lesson. That’s the fascinating thing about elders. The best ones aren’t sheltered from life; they’re seasoned by it.
Let’s end this with a medley from Titus:
“For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.
Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.”