“Trouble-Shooting With Titus”
“Use of Manpower” (3:12-15)
Paul is writing from somewhere in Macedonia (1Timothy 1:3). He intends to spend the winter in Nicopolis, the one on the west coast of Greece, that is. It was an important, and major city. Doubtless he will have work to do there. He requires the assistance of Titus v12. Two other brothers, Artemas and Tychicus will replace Titus on Crete. This helps Titus to schedule his work on Crete, he knows exactly how long he has. Notice Paul’s dynamic leadership in these closing verses. He plans and he delegates and distributes the manpower available to him and the churches throughout Asia Minor. Doubtless he places the right men in the right places, prayerfully, of course. Who was Artemas? We don’t know. But Tychicus is mentioned by Paul a few times, a loved and trusted brother and fellow-worker. Zenas? Unknown also. But he is a lawyer. This indicates that all the gifts and abilities within the church are put to good use. Nothing wasted.
Of course the needs would have been huge just as they are today v14. All these workers needed to be provided for, they can’t live on fresh air. No doubt in their sacrificial service they will be willing to live on little. But, that raises a question, why should Ministers and Missionaries live on less? Don’t they have the same needs as other Christians. Families to provide for, children to feed and school? Well Titus himself cannot meet all these needs. So obviously Paul expects the churches to meet the need. Here was an opportunity for them to stand in the frontline of missionary work. God’s people must learn to take the lead where good works are concerned. It is all part of our worship (Romans 12:1-2).
All, of course, is done in love v15. Those who love us? Some we know from other parts of the New Testament were not disposed to love Paul. Some owed, on the human level, their salvation to his costly ministry. The rejection must have hurt, but deep love and loyalty of others would have compensated to some degree. The grace of God was always sufficient for Paul. It is, after all, only by grace than any of us can live to this standard that God, through the inspired writings of the apostle has set for. Grace makes us God-like, which is what it is all about, restoring men and women broken by sin, to the image of God in Christ. The one thing the world out there needs today is to see grace at work in God’s people. That ultimately, is the big drawing power.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1998)