Pastoral Ministry; December 2, 2018

Titus 2:1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.

Along with the two longer letters to Timothy, this is a letter about how to be a shepherd of Jesus’ flock. In the first chapter Paul writes about some types of people who can make real problems in a church, but here he goes on to tell Titus how he should be in contrast to those others. (The NIV leaves off the leading “However” in this verse.) The NIV says “teach” here, but the Japanese goes with the more general, “speak.” It does little good to try to teach good stuff if our normal conversation doesn’t fall in line. Some people today try to be “relevant” by coarsening their speech to fit those around them. Paul was clear on that point in writing to the Ephesians, (Ephesians 5:4) and Jesus famously said, “I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37) Here, Paul goes on to give specific examples of sound (healthy) speaking/teaching. If every young seminary student were genuinely to take this chapter to heart, the Church worldwide would be much healthier! We are far too prone to go with the latest fad or with humanistic thinking, when God calls us to a much higher standard.

Having graduated from seminary 44 years ago, I can see times when I was following these instructions pretty well and times when I could definitely have done better. For a while I wasn’t a terribly willing pastor. I delighted to teach, but pastoral ministry didn’t turn me on. I have had to learn that we can’t just stick with what turns us on! Mike Rowe, of “Dirty Jobs” fame, tells young people, “Don’t just ‘follow your passion,’ buckle down and learn the skills to do a good job at whatever you do.” That’s good advice that would have benefited me 40+ years ago! There are still things that I would just as soon not do, but if there isn’t someone else to do them and they need to be done, I have no excuse. My life is to be an example, and the most important example I can set is of loving obedience to my Lord.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for Your incredible patience with me over the years. Thank You for the training You’re giving me right now of not speaking, of not being the one visibly in the lead. It’s hard to be quiet! Yesterday I experienced the emotional pain of not being able to participate in singing Christmas songs, and I’m not looking forward to this morning for that very reason. I pray that You would grow me in how to worship without sound, so that when I am again able to use my voice my worship may be fuller, more complete, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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