OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #236 Mainly Good is Partly Bad
Last week was a tough one for our family as my maternal grandmother passed away early Thursday morning. She was a strong believer, and so this makes a real difference. It means we can grieve with hope in the resurrection.
She was 92 and lived in her own home until she entered hospital the day before she passed away. Her home was always warm and welcoming, and some of our best memories are sharing meals at her table. Whenever we were home on vacation in the summer, we always had evening lunch with her. It was very fitting that our family ate our meals together in her home. We will miss her very much.
We appreciate your prayers for our family.
Every once in a while I start out for one place and end up in another. I thought I knew where I was going, only to realize that I was not where I ought to be.
While leading a bike camp once, I took a group of young teens on a walk. The plan was to follow one path for a little while, stop for a Bible study at about sunset, and then hook up with another path using flashlights to return in the dark. It was a great plan, except that the two paths didn’t connect. By the time we realized this we didn’t know if we were closer to one end of the path or the other, so we continued until we came out at the other end two hours later. This was definitely not where I had planned for us to go.
As we near the end of Titus, Paul summarizes the teaching he wants Titus to emphasize. All through the letter he has stressed goodness in the life of the believer and he turns to this theme one more time.
“Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.” (Titus 3:14*)
This sentence ties the book together. Titus must appoint church leaders on Crete who love what is good (1:8), in contrast to those who are rebellious and unfit for doing anything good (1:16). Those who are age-advantaged should teach the younger what is good (2:3), and Titus himself is to be an example for the younger men (2:7). Goodness should not only be a trait of leadership, however. Jesus gave himself so that his people might be eager to do good (2:14), and this ought to be the goal for every believer (3:8). In this way, Titus reminds the people to do good (3:1).
Paul touches this theme for a final time. “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good...” Goodness does not come as naturally as we might hope. It’s not that we aim for bad, but we end up there sometimes because we forget where we are going spiritually, and so without goodness firmly in mind we don’t do everything necessary to arrive at the proper destination.
We shouldn’t settle for being mainly good because mainly good is still partly bad. That’s like arriving at the proper destination only part of the time. The good news is that we have some control over this. We can learn devotion to doing good.
I hope this helps. Be on fire.
OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published Sept 29, 2010. *Scripture taken from the New International Version. To subscribe or reply, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Archives are located at www.onfireletter.com. Blog located at http://www.onfireletter.blogspot.com/