Thursday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Posted on September 17, 2020 byunder
Scripture: Titus 1:1-16 (NKJV)
1:1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, 3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;
4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
St. Paul calls himself a bondservant (Greek: doulos, “bondservant” is a nice way of saying “slave”). The service of a slave is not a matter of choice. It is done at the will of the owner/master. With the word “slave” St. Paul is emphasizing that the service which he performs of preaching the Gospel is not self-chosen, but was committed to him “according to the commandment of God our Savior.” Ever since his conversion, St. Paul desired with fervent love to give thanks by His obedience to the heavenly vision (Acts 26:19). Nevertheless, St. Paul makes it clear: “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16).
Many pastors today have Luther’s Sacristy Prayer displayed in their study. “O Lord God, Thou hast made me a pastor and teacher in the church. Thou seest how unfit I am to administer rightly this great and responsible Office; and had I been without Thy aid and counsel I would surely have ruined it all long ago. Therefore, do I invoke Thee. How gladly do I desire to yield and consecrate my heart and mouth to this ministry! I desire to teach the congregation. I, too, desire ever to learn and to keep Thy Word my constant companion and to meditate thereupon earnestly. Use me as Thy instrument in Thy service. Only, do not forsake me, for if I am left to myself, I will certainly bring it all to destruction. Amen.”
Prayer: O Lord, give our pastors the will to preach the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, which grants the blessed hope of eternal life. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.