2008-06-05 - Encouragement
Titus 2:1-4 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 that they may encourage ... (NASB)
The description above can be taken many ways. Some would say that these are people who have no fun at all. Please note that nowhere does the author state that these people may not run, play games, tell jokes, visit with friends, etc. But it does govern the content of the jokes or conversations for example. There is a list of instructions that follow in the next several verses that attempt to define character traits that lead to sensible, godly living. At no time does this list stipulate that the adherent must wear gray at all times and be boring.
The whole point is to be a source of encouragement to both believers and those who do not believe. When events happen that are difficult to cope with or explain, who do people seek out? The rabble rousers? After the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, 2000, or the attack at Columbine High School, where did people go for answers? To churches and people of faith. There was little sense in the world to explain what had happened to answer the deep questions people had. Answers to the painful questions, like "Where is my child who was killed?" And searching questions, "Is there more to life than this existence?"
Believers have difficult times too. We are human and mortal. We have feelings and emotions like anyone else. Spouses pass suddenly. Children die in accidents. Parents become seriously ill or infirm. The hard times in life can get to the point were we need a sounding board, or someone we can confide in to help make decisions or sort out a painful personal problem or event. When our faith is rocked, who do we go to? Friends with a well-grounded faith and good reputations.
If we live long enough, we will all have opportunities to be on both sides of this coin - seeking and being sought. Life does not discriminate. Difficulty comes to everyone at one time or another, so we will all be seekers. The question is will we be on the list of people to be sought when someone around us is struggling? I know a number of people who match the description of character in the verses in Titus chapter 2. They are far from boring or otherwise not fun to be around. They live life with great joy. But because of their character the Lord has the opportunity to lead people to them in times of sorrow, confusion or loss. They can speak authoritatively because they know the Bible and they have a strong relationship with their Savior. They have good ears to listen and answers with substance to encourage the seeker.
Titus 2:15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (NASB)
Grace & Peace,