Summary: We can and are able to incorporate these things into our own ministries. We can and are able to become just like Paul.
Series Title: Pastoral Leadership, By Example (Titus)
Message Title: Called
Scripture: Titus 1:1
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness-
There are not too many people [Christians] that I know that are able to open up their correspondence the way that Paul does, AND are able to back it up in their testimony [walk the talk]. But, that’s what we want to take a look at, isn’t? We want to look at what Paul is telling the young pastor Titus and how to take care of the church in Crete.
We can and are able to incorporate these things into our own ministries. We can and are able to become just like Paul. Yes, Paul was a special Christian and there will never be another just like him. However, if you are following God’s will for your life, the possible impact that you could make would be just as significant. We all must realize exactly what James said in his epistle:
(James 5:17) Elijah was a man just like us.
So, speaking in human terms, if Elijah was a man just like us, then we can also conclude that, Paul was a man just like us. Consequently, we are then able to incorporate into our own toolbox those methods that he suggests to Titus, as they are suited for normal people and aimed to be used by normal people. The majority of the men and women of the Bible were not special people, they followed a special God, that enabled them to do special things. We, too, follow a special God that will enable us to do special things.
Let’s go line by line and observe the tutoring of Titus concerning the church in Crete.
Paul, a servant of God
Throughout Paul’s epistles he uses the word servant 17 times. In his time, one out of every three people in Italy was a servant to someone. Elsewhere in the world, one person out of every five people were servants. The visual definition of the word could be seen probably at least four or five times a day, depending on where you lived: One that is totally responsible to, and totally dependent upon another person. For us, living almost 2000 years later, we must rely only on our own minds to understand what a servant is. As a result, we are not able to envision or make the vivid correlation of the word with the action of complete subjugation.
When we think of servant, we think of a butler, or a maid that has chosen to pursue this area as an occupation. This was not the case during Paul’s time. Most hard ‘public’ labor was done by servants or slaves that had been taken during wars or conflicts, or purchased on the open market.. Even learned people were kept as servants or slaves. It was not unusual to see educators, doctors and lawyers as servants. Some families even kept priests as servants.
Now, we have to understand that many of these people became servants because they were either unable or unwilling to support themselves, or even live by themselves above the poverty level.
Pastors, we need to keep those ideas in our mind, we need to realize the extent of what Paul means when he says servant of God. What did servants do 2000 years ago? Think of something unpleasant or hard, or mundane, or time consuming, and they did it! Servants cleaned the bathrooms, dressed their masters, took care of the children and the animals. Servants worked the fields, broke rock, constructed buildings, and even fought each other to the death as gladiators.
Can we now picture what Paul means when he says a servant of God? One that is totally responsible to, and totally dependent upon another person. We are responsible to and dependent upon God! We are servants, and, we need to be servants not in the contemporary or modern sense of the word, but in the way it was thought of during the first century.
This takes a lot of training for some people, that is being a servant according to first century standards. As a pastor, we say that we have become servants of God. If that is true, then we need to surrender to Him and be totally responsible and totally dependent upon Him.
The training that I mentioned earlier begins with doing. As servants of God we of course will be called upon to bring the Word of God to the people. And, in addition to that, based upon the size and willingness of the congregation, is any other job that doesn’t get done. Total surrender and total humility go hand in hand.