Summary: Word of Encouragement on Clergy Appreciation Day
The Ministry of the Minister
I was reading in a recent edition of SBC Life an article by Pastor Charles Lowry and he asked this question: "Do you get too much encouragement?" Are you one of those people that just gets too much encouragement? When you get up and go in to work in the morning does everyone quit their work and come over and tell you how much they appreciate you and what a fine job they think you are doing? After a day’s work, when you come home in the evening, does your family give you a standing ovation because of the fine job you are doing? Or are you one of those people that can drive down the highway and you don’t worry that a police officer is behind you because you know if he pulls you over it is only to tell you "I want to encourage you to keep driving they way that you’ve been driving. You are such a good driver . . . in fact, let me give you some money!"
Has anybody in here ever had anything like that happen to them? I really didn’t think so. In fact, Pastor Lowry says in his article that there is one sure sign you can use to tell if a person could use a little extra encouragement: If they are still breathing, they could use some extra encouragement!
He closes out his article with this illustration. He said there is a very unusual exhibit in the Smithsonian. It is an exhibit pertaining to Abraham Lincoln. In the exhibit is a handkerchief that is embroidered ’A. Lincoln.’ There’s a country boys pen knife. There is a spectacle case, hand sewn with cotton thread. There is a little clipping from a newspaper article that begins with these words: Abraham Lincoln is one of the greatest statesmen this world has ever known.
You may ask yourself why would that article be there? Why would the president, why would the 16th president of the United States, why would a great leader of this nation need to carry that article around with him? Looking back we can see that history remembers Abraham Lincoln as a kind of folk hero, a president’s president. But you need to remember that at the time when Lincoln was serving he wasn’t quite a popular as he is now. In fact our nation was divided; there was a great war going on. There were people who were trying to subvert everything that Lincoln did and every step that he took was a constant battle.
Was Lincoln a megalomaniac? Did he need the attention that this little article gave him? No, he didn’t need the attention, but folks, he needed the encouragement.
And I just say that to tell you this, the book of Titus is a word of encouragement from Paul, that great apostle, that great missionary, that great preacher. It is a word of encouragement to Titus to continue in the work that he has started. Paul has received word from Titus that there is a bit of a conflict on the isle of Crete. There is a problem, not so much with those outside the church, but inside the church. There are folks that are stirring things up. In fact, in verse 10 and 11 it kind of describes what is going on there:
"For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake," (Titus 1:10, 11).
And Titus doesn’t know for sure what to do, so Paul writes this letter to encourage him. And I’m quite sure that if there were a Smithsonian for the great preachers days gone by, and we found articles that were left behind by them, under Titus’ exhibit would be a well-worn copy of this letter from Paul, who wanted to be an encouragement to him.
And I hope that as we go through this study this morning, and again this evening, from the book of Titus, I hope that this letter will be an encouragement to you, as well. This morning we consider the ministry of the minister. (And since this is clergy appreciation month, and in honor of Bro. Richard Green, tonight’s sermon is entitled "Look Closely." And I am going to challenge you to examine every area of his life, and not to leave you alone, brother, but my life, as well. To hold us up to the scrutiny of God’s Word!)
Titus chapter 1, beginning at verse 1, says:
"Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour."