Positioned By Character

Message:  Today I appreciated the contrast between Joshua and Titus. While the topics in them are very unrelated, there was a unique picture of the ending and beginning of faithful service. I said that backwards intentionally because in Joshua 14 we were reading about the end of Caleb’s faithful service and in Titus we were reading about what he was building. In both cases they were going against the grain. In Joshua, there were only two men from the older generation that were allowed to live to see the promised land because of their faithful and honest report in spite of the rest who were fearful, unbelieving and complaining. Because of this God allowed them to stay “forever young” for those 45 years as they led the people. They were as strong at 85 as they were when they began at 40 and in chapter 14 Caleb was being given the inheritance that had been promised to him. In Titus 1 Paul was instructing Titus as he was building the framework of the church in Crete by appointing leaders. There were important character requirements expected of these leaders and Paul was acknowledging that they were living in a very immoral place and surrounded by people who had greed and other agendas trying to derail the building of the church. Titus was a faithful man and though he had probably been faithful for a long time, he was just beginning this new work in Crete. We know he was new to Crete because at the beginning of the letter Paul explained to him why he “left him” in Crete. Paul described Titus as his spiritual son (just like he did Timothy) so they were probably traveling together until they came upon Crete and preached the gospel. I think it’s important to note that Paul wouldn’t have just left Titus there without knowing that he was already a faithful and solid leader. Although his journey in this place was just beginning, he had already proven himself as faithful and equipped for this task. I think often times we want to be picked for leadership or promotion or for a place of honor, but we don’t want to be disciplined before we get it. We want “on the job training” and we somehow think we will rise to the occasion when we get there. If we receive a position of leadership prematurely, we might be surprised by the amount of work required and if we haven’t built the character, we will not know how to handle it. I think wanting to move forward and lead is healthy and good as long as we are willing to be faithful and build our character for the task first. There will always be “on the job training” but if we have already built a solid foundation of character first we will have the wisdom and experience to navigate through anything. These were the kind of leaders Caleb and Joshua were, and we saw the end reward. This is the kind of leader Titus was and we were watching the beginning.

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