For their sake

As usual, the Apostle Paul begins his letter to Titus by introducing himself. In this book, he gives himself two titles/labels: “A slave of God” and “an apostle of Jesus Christ.” Lets not overlook the significance of those two. They are both strong and honorable. However, in many ways they are opposite extremes. “A slave of God” is describing yourself in the lowest of ways. It is admitting that your life is for nothing other than the glory of God. It is a sign of humility because all followers of Jesus are slaves of God. And while Paul is one of the few select apostles, he still firstly introduces himself as God’s slave. “An Apostle of Jesus Christ” is describing yourself in the highest of ways. In the New Testament, there is no title higher than that of an apostle. In the history of the world, there have only ever been 14 true apostles. At the time Paul is writing Titus, He is most likely the last one living. Again, Paul was probably the only Apostle of Jesus left. That is a huge title. So Paul has introduced himself in his letter to Titus in a fascinating way – two very different yet very impressive titles – “Slave of God” and “Apostle of IMG954096Jesus Christ.”

What he says next though in verse one is what has so caught my attention.  He says he is a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ “for the sake of the faith of God’s elect.”
That is why he is what he is! 
Paul is both a servant and an apostle for the believers’ benefit.
Paul is not in this work for himself. He is in this work “for the sake of their faith.”
It is remarkable to hear him speak in such a way. Paul understands that God, in His providence, has placed Paul in those peoples lives and has placed those people under Paul’s ministry. Paul understands that those people are to benefit from his life and his teaching. He does it for their sake!
If Paul is who he is “for their sake,” then this leads us to ask “What would happen to them if Paul was not there?” This is a reasonable question. Undoubtedly, Paul’s conviction was to think this way. Paul saw responsibility to his calling and to his people. Paul believes his life and ministry is “for the sake of the elect.”
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As I then apply that to my life, I ask “Who can I say I am living for the sake of their faith?”
Who is benefitting from who I am as a follower of Jesus?
Are my children better off because of my commitment to Jesus?
What would happen to my wife and kids if I was not here? Am i living “for the sake of their faith?”
I also think about this in regards to FCA work. The opportunities of team chaplains and huddle leaders is so significant. Who else is serving those student-athletes? Who else is telling them? Who else cares to that extent? Do we realize the magnitude of our small role? Do we understand that God has us in that position “for the sake of their faith?”
And if so, we ought to do it well.
I am thankful for Paul’s ultra-selfless understanding of ministry. Like a true shepherd, he has their best interest in mind, not his. Who is your life “for the sake of their faith?”

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