Practical Proverbial, from Titus, 26 August 2019

This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. Titus 3:8 (EHV).

Awhile back I wrote about my uncle (in the context of Titus 2:2); how he is an older man worthy of respect and honor.   Today I’m writing about how he’s dying with dignity and strength.   Those things are possible for him because, decades ago, he decided to follow Jesus and live his life in a way that was devoted to Him, to what is good.   My uncle is in hospice today, and it won’t be long before he leaves this place, and is young again in heaven.

I’m watching from far away while this happens, knowing that he listened to the Apostle Paul countless times in his life.   That good words like Paul’s, here, prepared him for this time when he is readying to meet Jesus face to face.  It was trustworthy for Paul to say that it was honorable, excellent, and able to bear much good fruit for those who follow Jesus to devote themselves to doing what is right, what is decent, what is honorable.

My uncle has lived his life doing those things, and when he dies, we’ll gather around his funeral to remember how a man we loved taught us so many good things about how to follow Christ.   Buzz didn’t earn a trip to heaven; none of us do.   But Jesus earned it for him, made it possible for him to leave behind the cancer and debilitation and loneliness that sometimes plagues us here on the Third Rock.  When the door opens, he’ll walk through and be renewed and be in the presence of He who made it possible.

THAT is the point of Paul’s words to Titus today.   THAT is the point of my uncle following Jesus throughout his life.   The things that are excellent and profitable in this life are from Jesus and because of Jesus and in Jesus.  We aren’t talking A+ on-your-report-card excellent, or Bill & Ted adventure excellent:  we’re talking perfection.   And we aren’t talking about your-best-life-now financial profitable, or YUGE 401K profitable:  we’re talking about souls standing in eternal praise of God.   Here in this world, living lives in thankful praise of Him can earn we followers respect and honor, yet it isn’t for this world that people live such lives.   It’s to praise Jesus.  It is for being part of forever even now…and then after.

My uncle, Buzz Kornmann, understands all this.   I hope he isn’t too embarrassed by my saying it here.   Say a prayer for him, please, and for his family.   And please make it a prayer of happiness and thanks:  like he would.

For further reading:  1 Timothy 1:15, Titus 3:9

Lord Jesus, thank You for good men in our lives who lived to teach us to follow You.

Practical Proverbial, from 1 Timothy, 5 March 2019

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  1 Timothy 6:18 (NIV).

As with yesterday’s verse, here Paul is talking primarily about wealth, about Timothy instructing wealthy believers to share with others.   As with yesterday’s verse, let’s construe how it goes deeper than that.

This past Sunday I taught the “tweeners” at our church, the kids in 3-6th grade.   Our lesson was on building the Tabernacle in the Sinai desert, how God instructed the Israelites to give of what they had to complete His work, in this case building the tabernacle tent where God Himself could tabernacle with them (meaning He would abide and go with His people).   God asked them to give in ways that hurt their pride, giving up the gold and wealth they had plundered from Egypt so that it could be dedicated to Him.   He didn’t do it out of vanity.   He did it as a lesson for their hearts.   “I’m your God.   I love you.  Your wealth isn’t your god.   It doesn’t love anything.   Provide these small things as I provide for you.”

Boom.  That’s bigger than some bar of gold, or your 401K, or any of my possessions.  It’s not the economy:  He’s our God.  That’s the message Paul gives his protégé to teach.   Our God provides for us in all ways, including the Savior to save us from ourselves.   Those to whom He has given extra blessings should willingly share those with those blessed in less monetary ways as a gesture of love and respect for Jesus.

Jesus our God, whose whole ministry was about how He could give 100% of Himself to others, how He taught love and justice to the world through the example of serving, of giving completely even up to His own life.   He who gave everything for people who would murder Him still gives Himself up for our sins.   He calls us to a better way, beginning with our hearts.   When so many things draw our hearts away from Him, He still searches for us and wants us to love our sisters and brothers that same way.

Those who have material wealth have worldly opportunities to do this in ways that those without it don’t.  If you have it, what will you do?   If you won’t, you can do other things.   Will you?

Having wealth is a blessing from God, just like having health, having talent, having passion.   They’re gifts from Him; even elementary schoolers know that.   My friend, let’s each do something, for Him, with our gifts today.

For further reading:   Romans 12:8, Ephesians 4:28, 1 Timothy 6:13-21.

Blessing Lord, You are holy and good.   You save us, please forgive us today for the wrongs we do.  Teach us to give and share the wealth, the talents, the everything You give to us for the good of Your Kingdom