Wednesday – October 23, 2019 – Character
Titus 1:5-9 (NIV) The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. 6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
Romans 16:17-19 (NIV) I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
Along with Timothy, Paul had another son named Titus. Paul loved and respected Titus to the point that he raised him to a position of leadership. He was not just a leader; he was a leader of leaders. Paul would not have lifted him to that level unless he had confidence in him and in his moral and ethical qualities. He had to be a man of character, because he was responsible to oversee men whose only prerequisite for leadership had to do with character. Paul recognized Titus as a good judge of people. He allowed him to select the elders in each town under his oversight. He would have had to meet each candidate to assess their fitness for their responsibilities. He wasn’t looking for talent or even giftedness. He wanted men who would watch over those who were vulnerable, who would protect the naïve. They must protect the church from those who come in to bring division and place obstacles in their way.
There must be a protective quality in each elder that allows them to make a true assessment about himself, knowing that he only serves in the Kingdom of God because he loves God and he loves others. Those that are in it for themselves will look for something else. They may look for people of talent and giftedness, for what they can get out of it rather than what they can put into it. They are like Judas who only walked with Christ, because he carried the purse and helped himself to what was in it. When opposition came, he didn’t stand up against it, he gave into it and became the betrayer of Jesus.
Unfortunately, I have known many pastors and church leaders who were tremendously gifted and built large churches only to see their hard labors collapse around them because they did not have the character to sustain their work. On the other hand, others with character, like Paul and Timothy and Titus, began the church and their message stood the test of time. Why? Because their character stood the test of time. Remember that we are all responsible to grow and protect the church. That happens by knowing that your character is what carries your life’s message. Don’t let your life’s message collapse around you.
Prayer: Lord, now that I realize that my character is what I carry my life’s message in, help it not to collapse. I am confident that it won’t, because I build it on the Rock Christ Jesus.