In just a few days, we will be leaving for our annual summer vacation to the Lake of the Ozarks. We usually try to plan this trip around my husbands family and we meet up as they are available. Years ago, my husband (the engineer) actually made a spread sheet for us all to follow. He made itineraries and lists for everyone. I will admit that we all made fun of him for doing this. But, guess what??? It might have been the best trip we have taken with the entire extended family because it was so well planned out. This planning brought order to our trip. There was no questioning what we were doing, or questioning who was bringing what, or even questioning what was for dinner. My husband has a quality about him that was used set our family vacations in order.
This brings me to the theme of Titus Chapter 1. Paul wrote this letter to Titus and instructed him to do one thing: to set the church house in order on the island of Crete.
Titus 1:5 – “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you”
Paul continues by listing qualities that the Church Elders must have. Most of the qualifications involve character, not a skill or knowledge. A person’s life-style and relationships provide a window into his or her character.
Some of the characteristics that a qualified elder must have:
*blameless, husband of one wife, father of well-behaved children who share the Christian faith, hospitable, love goodness, self-controlled, of a sound mind, temperate, upright, holy, free from sin and wickedness, disciplined, holding to the truth of the Gospel, and able to teach believers and argue the faith effectively with doubters.
Some of the characteristics that an elder must not have:
*overbearing, self-willed, arrogant, quick-tempered, habitually angry, drunken, violent, and given to dishonest gain.
Paul left specific instruction on his task to put order into the Church. Paul wants Titus to put pastoral leadership in place in the Christian church on the island and he wants him to be careful in his selection of the leaders. He wants people who are respected in the community, family men who are even tempered, welcoming to strangers, wise, fair, and reverent.
We are called to be people changed by God’s love and desire to demonstrate what Paul stresses to be the qualities needed in leaders. Be people who are consistent at home as well as at church. Be people whose personal integrity is seen by outsiders as well as insiders. Have a spiritual life that draws upon the power of God and shows itself in one’s life, and know what we believe and why. We will be stronger and so will others because of Jesus who demonstrates these qualities for us.
When we spend time in God’s Word we get to know Him more intimately and He puts the desire for order in our lives. Spending more time with Him develops these qualities daily. May we all put a daily time in our busy calendar to spend time with Him…He in turn will put order in our lives.
We can also weave Psalm 3 into this passage. As we spend time developing these characteristics in our lives…LIFE HAPPENS! Sickness happens, challenges at work happen, a messy house happens, busy schedules happen, stress happens, etc…etc… So what do we do??? We can mirror David in this Psalm. David’s enemies sought to harm him. He was fleeing his son and maybe up to 10,000 soldiers. David could have depended on his army to defeat his enemies, instead, he turned to the Lord. He depended on God’s mercy, therefore, he was at peace with whatever outcome occurred. We can overcome fear by trusting god for his protection in our darkest hour (or as I need to continually remind myself, even in the little things!).