Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
DISCIPLESHIP: CALL TO WITNESS
v1 “You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.”
When I was in college I was tasked with the duty of renewing discipleship with our Christian fellowship. An issue we had was that we relied on one or a few leaders to push forward the fellowship, but when they had left, there were huge voids and burned out individuals. Some had felt there was no support and how leaders carried themselves was falling short. Others felt like we had no direction or vision. As much as “growth” happened in quantity, there was a huge void of mentorship. It was a hard moment for myself and fellow leaders, but an enormous jump off point to confess our failures and change our methods as a ministry. For us as believers in our communities, do we have voids of leadership and training?
Titus was a partner in ministry with Paul and was tasked with continuing the ministry and training of the Cretian people. Titus is encouraged to create a group of elders who can help guide the church even after his departure, and yet faces a huge culture problem. There are people proclaiming Jesus and living hypocritically and creating myths that had no part of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Paul rebukes that sharply and says to live above that standard.
The verse focused on in meditation is part of Paul’s instruction to the different sects of society. He has instruction for men, women, and even slaves. People within all castes of society were hearing the good news and thirsting to know more of God. Paul instructs Titus to push them to understand the conduct that believers should follow and to teach what God desires, not things irrelevant to doctrine. To the men, he challenges them to be faultless in their actions to their wives in Titus 1, and to have character worthy of leadership. To the woman he challenges them to temper their tongues and abstain from alcohol. To the slaves he challenged to be humble even in their difficult circumstances to proclaim a greater strength and truth.
Proclaiming a salvation and a need for change can either be tempered or enhanced by the character of the speaker. If I claim to be a man changed by God but gossip and insult every person, refuse to help anyone in a way that inconveniences me, and ignore my own teaching, then I condemn myself and hurt the gospel. Paul puts forth a hard task for Titus but his presence was sorely needed. What God desires of us is to be vulnerable and challenge the groups we are in whether its fellow youth, fellow parents, or our own neighbors in our communities. COVID-19 pandemic and painful experiences of racial discrimination have been situations that hurt the credibility of the church at times, but my hope is that we as disciples can be bridges to the Kingdom in our conduct. Let us humbly listen to our brothers and sisters so that we can draw them to the light that is the Lord. I leave with you a quote that has challenged me in my walk:
“When the church becomes an end in itself, it ends. When Sunday school, as great as it is, becomes an end in itself, it ends. When the worship service becomes an end in itself, it ends. What we need is for discipleship to become the goal, and then the process never ends. The process is fluid. It is moving. It is active. It is a living thing. It must continue to go on. Every disciple must make disciples.” Rob Gallaty
Lord forgive us where we focused more on teaching commandment then our own personal conduct, and did not see the hole within our own holiness. Help us to see you and follow you with all that we are, and in turn encourage others to do the same. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Humility is required to disciple, as it shows I am willing to listen and follow someone else. Am I really following Jesus if I am not disciple making in His name?
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church