To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 1:4
Paul was the most influential figure in the establishment of the early church. However, he didn’t work alone. He had several key partners who gave him very necessary support. We’ve been taking a closer look at some of these guys and learning how we can follow their examples even today. So far we’ve studied Barnabas, Silas, and Timothy.
This week, we’ll finish up with Titus.
Titus is not mentioned in the book of Acts, so what we know about him is pieced together from a careful reading of Paul’s letters. He was a Gentile convert and one of Paul’s earliest associates accompanying Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem and attending the important Council there. In fact, he was probably the prime example of a Gentile convert, filled with the Holy Spirit, proving that adhering to the traditions of Judaism were unnecessary to follow Christ. He pastored the church in Crete where Paul wrote a letter to him that we have in the New Testament. In 2 Timothy, we learn that Paul sent him to Dalmatia.
Titus worked closely with Paul. Paul makes mention of him in Corinth, in Galatia, and in Crete. At least part of that time Titus also served alongside Barnabas. As a result, he becomes a people-person like Barnabas and solid doctrinally like Paul. Not a bad combination.
Do we find mentors to serve with who can help us grow in key areas?
Admittedly, this can be challenging, especially if you are the mentor most of the time. However, we should never be satisfied with where we are and always learning and growing.
Titus was a good administrator. He collected and delivered a special famine offering to Jerusalem. He oversaw the churches on the island of Crete.
Are we careful, conscientious stewards of the things God has entrusted to us?
Maybe administration and leadership are not our gifts. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be counted on to faithfully carry out whatever tasks we’re given or roles we’re called to fill.
Titus was trusted with tricky situations. The Council in Jerusalem addressed the question of how Judaism fit with belief in Christ. Titus was in on all those discussions. Not only that, but he carried Paul’s “severe” letter with strong words for the church at Corinth. Because of his tact and wisdom, the Corinthians received the letter in the spirit Paul intended but he brought news back to Paul. Titus was then re-dispatched with Paul’s reply, the letter we have as 2 Corinthians.
Are we good at communicating the truth, even hard truth, in love?
No one likes conflict. However, it can be handled in a wise loving way that honors God. Titus mastered it. The next point may be the secret.
Titus genuinely loved the people he ministered to and rejoiced at their growth and obedience. (2 Cor. 7:15) Delivering that difficult letter wasn’t a matter of simply accomplishing a task. Titus wanted to see the people in the church restored in their relationships with each other and strengthened in their relationship with Christ. All of this would work to grow the church and spread the gospel message.
Do we have a heart for seeing people with restored relationships, both with each other and with Christ?
Or are we more likely to see conflict as none of our business or maybe as too much trouble and not worth the hassle of getting involved?
Over the last four weeks, we’ve taken a look at some of the close companions Paul traveled with on his evangelism trips. Each of the men had different talents and temperaments, varied skills and spirits. However, Paul would not, could not have accomplished all he did without their support.
What if we strove to be more generous and encouraging? Or maybe more serving and persevering? What if our character and reputation were spotless? What if driven by love for others and wanting the best for them?
The parting question, then, is how would the missions of our local churches be impacted if we poured ourselves into them the way Paul’s companions did for his mission? Isn’t it all the same mission, anyway? Seeing lives transformed by the gospel?
Maybe if we were more like Paul’s companions, we would more fruit like the New Testament churches.