May 14, 2019
Titus 1:2-3 (NLT)
This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him.
It’s everywhere. On notebooks and throw pillows and coffee mugs. It’s one of the standards for major life events from dedication to confirmation to graduation. It’s the go-to verse for many looking for the silver lining in difficult times:
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”(Jeremiah 29:11).
But if only we drank enough coffee for the verses before this to make the mug, because they set the scene. Back up just a few, and we see a bleaker picture: God’s people are foreigners in a land they never wanted to live in and can’t wait to get out of, among a people who burned their homes and temple to the ground, slaughtered their loved ones, and took them as prisoners into exile. This was never part of the plan, but it’s in this setting that the Lord says:
“Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:5-7).
Only after he tells them to work for the well-being of their enemies does God go on to say he has plans to give them a future and a hope.
Not exactly graduation card material, eh?
Acts 27 tells the story of Paul under arrest for his faith, a prisoner on a boat bound for Rome that is shipwrecked in bad weather on Crete. We don’t know how long he’s there, what he did, or even if Titus was with him on that trip. But the Lord must have done something through them during that time because Paul says he wrote this letter to Titus, whom he left “on the island of Crete so you could complete our work there and appoint elders (church leaders) in each town…” (Titus 1:5).
In today’s text, Paul says God has revealed his message of how to live a godly life at “just the right time.” Now being taken prisoner and shipwrecked may never have been part of the plan, but there Paul and Titus at just the right time and place for the revelation of what God was doing.
So when is the right time and where is the right place for us to live godly lives and share the gospel? Anytime and anywhere.
In Colossians 4:3-5 Paul writes: “Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.”
Anytime. Anywhere. Especially in the times and places that don’t go as planned, because that seems to be where the Lord shows up.
Yesterday I introduced a line from the Seedbed “Sower’s Creed.” Today let’s make the whole creed our prayer for anytime and anywhere.
Today, I sow for a great awakening.
Today, I stake everything on the promise of the Word of God. I depend entirely on the power of the Holy Spirit. I have the same mind in me that was in Christ Jesus. Because Jesus is good news and Jesus is in me, I am good news.
Today, I will sow the extravagance of the gospel everywhere I go and into everyone I meet.
Today, I will love others as Jesus has loved me.
Today, I will remember that the tiniest seeds become the tallest trees; that the seeds of today become the shade of tomorrow; that the faith of right now becomes the future of the everlasting Kingdom.
Today, I sow for a great awakening.
Ever hear the old adage of when’s the best time to plant an oak tree? Twenty years ago. When’s the second best time? Right now. So where can you sow today?
For the awakening,