Juggling Fire

Exposed for the Good

Today in the School of Biblical Studies, we wrapped up the book of Titus.

As our final assignment, we had to answer the question, “What does this letter teach about the qualities of a Christian leader? As a leader yourself, how does this impact you?”

Here’s my response:

Exposed for the Good

There stood Titus. Uncircumcised. A gentile. On an island. Surrounded by Greeks just like him. But also by heathens. And also by high Jewish officials.

And he was to preach the Gospel.

He had been with Paul. He had seen it done. He had done it himself. But this was different.

Paul was biting at him to bring immediate order to perpetual chaos. His fellow Greeks were saying, “We’re confused.” Some Greeks spit on the Gospel. Jews told him, “You’re dirty in the eyes of God.”

Oh, to be Titus. It pains me to think about standing in his shoes.

Hey, wait a second. Is that why my feet hurt so badly? Is that why my mind is spinning? Is that why I feared coming back to Oklahoma? Why I can’t hang out with my old friends? Why I struggle sending my kids to public school? Why it’s harder than anything now to live in the “real world”?

OH. MY. GOODNESS. I am Titus!

Here I am. Back home. In a small town. With people I have known all my life. Surrounded by people who have seen me fail. And by those who expect to see me fail again. And also by those who expect me to sacrifice more than I’m convicted to give.

And I am to preach the Gospel.

Sometimes when I do, I am encouraged by others who want to know more, by those who long to hear the truth.

Sometimes I feel like those who don’t respond see me as a hypocrite, remembering that person I left at the cross.

And still others, they tell me I’ve gone too far. Enough is enough, they say. Stop cramming your religion down my throat.

I post Scriptures each morning on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, not because I’m self-righteous, but because I feel like those Scriptures were sent to me for a reason, and maybe that reason is because someone else needs to hear them. If I don’t post them, I’ve failed to walk through a door God has opened for me.

Occasionally, I also post devotionals, longer messages that really speak to my heart. I always pray about them, and if I feel led by the Spirit to share them, like maybe that same Spirit who urged Paul to write to Titus, is also urging me to post that devotional for someone, then I share the message.

I generally get a few “likes”. Once in a while, someone posts a “Thanks. I needed that today.” But last month, I received a “Stop preaching on Facebook! We get it. You’re a Christian.”

I didn’t want to ignore the comment, but I didn’t want to get into an online virtual fist fight, either. So, after much thought and prayer, I replied simply with a friendly hello and a smiley face.

I imagine this is how Titus responded time and time again to those who confronted him on that island.

Perhaps, after responding with a friendly smile, though, he wished he would have – or could have – responded differently. There is a big difference between “would have” and “could have” here.

I don’t wish I “would have” responded differently to my friend. But I do wish I “could have.”

I wish I could have said, “Do you get it? Do you get that I’m a Christian?”

Because if you get that I’m a Christian, then you’ll get why I post Scriptures, why I post devotionals, why I speak to youth groups, why I campaign for clean water and sex trafficking victims in Cambodia, why I spend 7 to 9 hours a day studying the Bible and people like Titus and Paul. You’ll get why I do it in a town full of people who know me, who know I’m divorced – three times, who know about my past, who doubt me, who look down their noses at me, who think I “preach on Facebook” – all because I just want people to get me.

That’s what I wanted to say.

But I didn’t.

Because I knew if I could have said all that, I would not have conveyed the real reason why I do all those things, which is because I’m divorced three times, because I have, by the grace of God, lived through my past, and most of all, because I want everyone to know how Titus felt!

There stood Titus. Uncircumcised. A gentile. On an island. Surrounded by Greeks just like him. But also by heathens. And also by high Jewish officials.

And he was to preach the Gospel.

And he did. He preached the Gospel, fully exposed, transparent, in the midst of people who hated him, ridiculed him, most likely even spit on him. In front of crowds of Greeks who probably yelled, “Stop preaching! We get it. You’re a Christian.”

But he did it anyway, because he remembered what Jesus did for him.

Titus got it. Titus got what it means to be a Christian. And I get it, too.

It means I’m not always perfect. It means I don’t always win my battles. It means I often let my past define who I think I am today.

It means despite all that, Jesus still loves me. And it means if I don’t tell others that, then nobody will ever get it.

So each day, I get in my boat, paddle out to my island, smile at people who think I’m dirty, and I preach the Gospel. It might be in the form of posting a devotional on Facebook. It might be in the form of speaking to a youth group. I might deliver a sermon, write a blog post, or simply say, “Bless you,” after someone sneezes.

It doesn’t matter where we share the Gospel, but it does matter if we share the Gospel. Because if we never share the Gospel, people just won’t get it.

I am Titus. And Titus we are all called to be.

If you like this study and want to help support my journey through the School of Biblical Studies, please visit our Sponsor Us page and join our mission team. Thanks for reading!


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