Well Kats and Kitties, we’re on to our next study! This Sunday we’ll be starting a seven week (just shy of two and a half years) study in the book of Titus. Titus was a really funny TV show back in the 90’s…but that’s a different thing.
The Titus we’ll be looking at is the one in the New Testament. It’s a short little book written by Paul to a young protege he left in Crete to get things in order with the churches. It was probably written sometime between Paul’s house arrest and his final arrest in Rome, so it’s just near the end of his ministry.
The larger theme of this book will be about how we put the stuff we claim to believe (the gospel, the hope of the coming kingdom of God) into practice. In this short letter Paul makes the strongest correlation between what we believe and how we live.
We’ll cover the first four verses of chapter one this Sunday. It is Paul’s introduction and greeting – though even by ancient standards, it’s pretty long. It’s one serious run-on sentence. We get the distinct impression that Paul is less concerned about grammatical structuring than he is trying to get a point across even in his “hello”. As you read it, consider how Paul describes himself. What is the first thing he identifies as a characteristic of his life (v1)? The word he uses in the Greek is “doulos” – and here’s the lexicon entry for that word. Is there any hint of self-importance in that title?
The question that lingers is…who are WE in God’s plan? Paul saw his place, is ours any different? What does this look like when lived out in real life?
Paul new more than just his status though. If you read the passage in the Message (it reads much more clearly there), what did Paul’s overall purpose in life seem to be? If you were asked to sum it up in one word, what word would you choose?
Just a warning: If we’re people who want to build our own kingdom, prioritize comfort and feel we deserve to always be happy….Titus will wreck us. If, however, we are weary of empty and shallow pursuits in church and life in general…Titus will drink like cold, clear water on a hot summer day. It all depends on our end-goal I suppose.
Hopefully we’ll see you Sunday!
3 thoughts on “Finding Who We Are in God’s Plan”
Paul’s status- Slave…no arrogance there… is our place any different? Only if we choose it to be…we have the same opportunity as he did to pay homage only to the One who is worthy of it…but do we always…doubtful…I know I fall short many times. What does slavery look like in real life..I sappose it looks like not always getting our own way….really, holding on to Him so tightly that eventually our way matches up with His and we are no longer able to do anything else. Our heart becomes so overwhelmed with His sweetness that we loose our desire for those lesser lovers. Paul’s was passionate about getting out the truth of God’s goodness ..He didn’t want empty religion to cloud the eyes of the church any longer. To sum up his purpose in one word, I would have to call him an encourager. His voice continues to restore hope and inspire purpose today!
Usually, at least to me, when words are NOT few it wreaks of self importance and Paul was most definitely wordy in his greeting. However I think this was more gidiness in his new freedom and the excitement he felt about sharing it.
It’s funny that this is the topic… plans for our lives. I heard a woman on the radio last night talking about ‘daring to dream’ and ‘you can’t let go of that dream’, ‘don’t let your dream die’ with the implication that if we do there’s nothing left to live for and we’re empty shells with no motivation in life. I switched off the radio and just sat there thinking about it because I had real issues with the advice she was giving Lord knows how many people. I thought about the dreams that I had years ago and the fact that I had let go of them and let God show me where He wanted me instead. According to her, I should be an empty shell right now. It’s amazing though, the plans that God had for me and how fulfilling they are compared to what my own dreams were. Our own dreams are so limited to what this world has to offer and they end up being heavy chains that drag us down, but with God and His plan those chains are broken and the ordinary can be extraordinary. When we stop thinking of self. When we stop believing the lie that if we don’t think of us then no one will, there is a true freedom.
I don’t think Paul was much different from us. I’m sure he had some sort of aspirations in life. Instead he dropped them like a bad habit, followed Jesus down a long, hard road and ended up in a place where he was positively giddy to declare that he was a slave and a servant. Only here to share God’s love and spread the word of hope and salvation. I think it ties into Isaiah from a couple weeks ago too. Paul was spreading the word of salvation and the fact that it’s not just an eternity in heaven, but for the here and now as well. That we can be FILLED with joy and the Holy Spirit and have a life overflowing right now.
Our mission is the same. Love God, love people. Share His love and spread His word. It looks different for all of us. Some of us are called to quietly lead by example, some are called to speak in front of millions, some are called to travel to other countries. We most definitely screw it up and have a tendancy to reach for ‘self’ time and time again, but like Julie said, the longer and tighter we cling to Him the more in sync we are with His heart and plans for us.
hehehe… just an after thought. Not too long ago the disciples were saying “See, Lord, here are two swords.”, and they just did NOT get it. I wonder if part of Paul’s passion and excitement was, ‘I get it now! I really get it now!!!’.