If you were sending a letter of instruction to someone setting out into the world, what would you write? Maybe you would reflect on some of the life lessons you’ve learned along the way. So would I. Maybe we’d give words of encouragement and words of warning that we’ve learned. That’s what God did in writing his love letter, the bible, to you and me. And that’s what Paul did in his mentoring letter to Titus. He talks about many things, including to remember:
- Our life role is to be servants who are truthful in all our ways.
- Our main job, before ministering to others, is to make sure WE are holding onto OUR own faith firmly, SO THAT we can encourage others with that same truthful faith and also defend it against those who try to persuade us with false teaching.
- He warns Titis (and us) to not get tripped up with meaningless talk. In the hospital, I’ve found where people are in extreme painful situations, either as a patient or family member, or more often as a staff constantly dealing with people in pain and sorrow, there are often open opportunities for simple conversations to become doorways for gospel conversations. Once, I approached a stranger waiting by the elevator, and asked “How is your day going?” One simple question led to a discussion of his wife’s cancer, his Muslim faith, and a time of prayer with him, to then his inviting me to come to his house to share with him and his wife. There are many opportunities for God encounters if we simply put an end to meaningless talk and exchange them for opportunities to build relationship bridges with people that lead to meaningful gospel conversations and prayer.
- Paul gives a warning to Titus – and us – about people who “claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” Oh my prayer, is that this not be a warning about me. I can look back in life and sometimes even now, and see times when I claim to know God but my own actions don’t reflect it. In fact maybe they actually deny God when I choose meaningless chit chat over meaningful time with others, my own comfort and interests instead of reaching out with practical expressions of God’s love. Recently a friend offered to do yard work for us while I am in the hospital. Another is going to change a car battery for Marcia. Their simple acts of compassion affirm they do know God who wants to encourage us through the simple yet generous actions of his servants.
The bad news is we have so many opportunities to become distracted by meaningless activities, that in the end amount to nothing and waste our lives, while others go about their lives without God or discouraged in their walk with God. In our self-absorbed loves we become unfit for any good work.
BUT THE GOOD NEWS is that we have so very many opportunities to let God’s Spirit help us see every day practical ways of expressing his love and thereby affirming that we really love God and are coming to know him more and more.
How do you want to live your life?