Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt

Read Titus 3

I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come to believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone. But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. After a first and second admonition, have nothing more to do with anyone who causes divisions, since you know that such a person is perverted and sinful, being self-condemned….And let people learn to devote themselves to good works in order to meet urgent needs, so that they may not be unproductive.

More thoughts for meditation

The Bible tells us a lot of practical things as we become acquainted with all the people who make up the stories and accounts. But more, the Bible strengthens our hearts as we learn about the character of the people who bring honor to God through their work. The world and its work keep changing, and it is no wonder that the Bible does not give us the specific directives we sometimes want concerning what to do or where to do it.  But the virtues of honesty, diligence and trust are never made redundant, and the Bible instructs us in cultivating these virtues at every turn. They are the soulful tools that make what we do “profitable for all,” which is the goal of our love.

Biblical instruction about living as Jesus calls us to live must be applied in the workplace.  Life and work are not separate, but rather work is a part of a whole life.  Like our proverb says:

Life in Christ is one whole cloth. As we participate in and love “the world,” we bring redemption from the Kingdom of God to our society. Jesus is Lord of all, so we have repented of separating “sacred” and “secular.”

When Jesus says, “Let your light so shine before [all] that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father who is in heaven” he is not limiting this to life “at church” or in the family.  It is the whole of life, including our work.  We are who we are in Christ wherever we are.

When Paul says to Titus, “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good,…” (3:14) this also applies to our daily work.  Paul is also quick to note how our character will be exactly what brings us trouble in our daily occupation. The Lord seeks to create a people who will bear the image of God and display the Spirit’s glory in all the creation, at work and at play. Transforming grace works powerfully in us through the Spirit, and we are given many ways to discern how to live this new life in the world. We learn our devotion, day by day, and one of the ways it is honed to profitability is by constant friction with “stupid controversies” and “quarrels about the law” and people who cause “divisions.” The people who cause these things are in the workplace and in the church, perhaps in your family. The work of multiplication, reconciliation, healing will all be especially opposed.

The Psalmist says that God’s word is a light to his path. Much of our path lies in labor; we are grateful that light shines there as well. We need to attend to how we attend to the light, in all the ways God reaches us.

Suggestions for action

Pray: Stir my devotion. Make what I do profitable for all.

We often avoid thinking about our troubles. We don’t want to “go there.” But often naming them is the first step in the kind of attending that allows us to be attended to.

Start with the workplace. Name the places and people where your character as a Jesus follower rubs up against things that are not of the Lord. Don’t try to solve all your problems, right now, don’t be your own answer. Present them to the Lord and listen. But, for sure, be untroubled in the presence of Jesus.

If you are involved in multiplication, reconciliation, healing or some other soulful work, name the opposition. They are people. Naming is not damning, it is just acknowledging what is happening. Again, don’t immediately solve the problem. Present these people to the Lord and listen. Read Paul’s words to Titus again and listen.