Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They much have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. – Titus 2:2
Have you ever tried to be perfect? Tough, isn’t it?
One of my jobs is as a professor. Can I tell you something shocking? I have never given a 100% on an essay or paper that was turned in by any of my students. Many of my students have achieved on their papers, but never a 100%; I can always find something that is not quite perfect. Because perfection is not attainable, does that mean we should quit?
When the Scripture was written, it was not written with these wonderful organizational tools like chapters and verses. Rather books of the Bible, like Titus, were often letters. These letters were written to different areas, or in the case of Titus, written to a specific person. Titus had a very important job to do on the island of Crete, and Paul wrote to Titus, giving him his orders. Paul sent Titus to Crete to find elders for the church.
The word for an elder in the original language is the root word we have today for Pastor. Did you know that another word for pastor is shepherd? A pastor is someone who cares for the flock. In the great commandment from Jesus, we are told to “love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves” (this is the essence of a shepherd/pastor). In this sense, we are all ministers/pastors.
Titus was a pastoral talent scout and trainer. He was the traveling Human Resources department for the church in Crete. In Titus 2:2, Titus is receiving instructions from Paul on how to train the men who will be the elders (pastors) of Cretan churches. The men were to exercise self-control which earns them respect, and they were to live wisely. They were also to live their lives full of love and patience.
Titus is the teacher. He is there to build up the leaders of the Cretan church. The demands on a believer are perfection. Spend a day reading the law of Moses in Leviticus or Deuteronomy, and you will realize quickly that we cannot hope to achieve perfection. Does that mean we should quit? Not at all! It means we must continue to strive for perfection. Even if we cannot be a 100% minister, it is better that we try.
Our command in this scripture is to live our lives with self-control that earns us respect, to live wisely, and to live our life as a picture of love and patience. These are very high demands.
Though these three topics are too deep to go into in a short devotion, I urge you to reach out to someone who can help you. Find a coach, find a mentor, find someone who is willing to look you in the eyes and tell you the truth about your life. Be ready for a kick in the pants, most of us need one from time to time.
Remember in this process that although perfection is the goal, it is not attainable because we are not perfect, we all have years of mistakes in our records. The point is that we make changes today to become better than we are. Then we can become men (and women) that are respected, wise, and live as pictures of love and patience.
– Scott Beiermann