August 1st – Paul’s Trouble-Shooter

In a journey not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, probably because it came after Paul’s first trial in Rome, before he was re-arrested: this journey included the Island of Crete where he left Titus in charge. Paul’s letter to Titus was written describing the enormous task which Titus faced.
The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. Titus 1:5
The task was a barrel of snakes, as you may guess from what Paul says in Chapter 1.
For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach – and that for the sake of dishonest gain. Titus 1:10-11
Cretans were, by report, ungovernable! and Paul’s crowning quotation about that reputation which the people of Crete had acquired (here he is quoting the Greek scholar Polybius) who regarded the Cretans as the ancient world’s skinheads.
Even one of their own prophets has said “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons”. Titus 1:12
and Paul adds, “and this is true”! I always feel like saying, “Go on speak your mind Paul! Don’t hold back!”
Imagine then the size of the task Titus had been given. In a limited space of time he was called to give some dynamic Christian leadership on Crete, to put structure into the church, to appoint genuine leaders and to establish the church in spiritual values and the power of Christ. Some task. And when he’d put the work there on a strong footing, in which the preaching and teaching of Christ was the spiritual dynamo, then, when replacement leaders arrived, he was to join Paul in what we now call Albania, where Paul planned to stay the winter, working in Nicopolis. Some task for a short term mission!
Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive. Titus 2: 9-10
A Prayer:
Forgive us Lord, that we make excuses for our Christian task, believing no one ever had such difficult people to deal with as we have.
Now read Titus Chapter 2.

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