I was so shocked that I froze. My two-year-old son found our guest’s leftovers from dinner lying on the floor next to her purse and cell phone. Like a bad dream, I watched as the Chipotle naked-burrito was boot-stomped into the floor like a wrestler on Monday Night RAW. As you can imagine, his mother and I were horrified; we were not making a very good first impression, especially having just started on Pastoral staff at Journey The Way. Our guest was very gracious and simply had a good laugh. In God’s sovereignty she had previously been a nanny for two boys, which prepared her for our “Hulk Hogan & Macho-Man Randy Savage tag team”. Let me tell you something brother; raising a Godly legacy is hard work. But do you know what’s even harder? Letting people watch you do it.
The only thing harder than raising kids, is letting others watch you do it. If I’m honest, I’m often concerned about my kids being seen as “obedient” due to my own pride. I want them to glorify me as a parent, rather than to glorify God. In those moments, I’m more concerned for how they make me look, than how they make God look.
In the book of Titus, we see the church in Crete was also not giving off a very good first impression to their neighbors. They may not have been stomping Mexican food into living room carpets, but they were living in such a way that did match who they now were in Christ. The gospel they proclaimed with their lips did not match the message they proclaimed with their lives. So, Paul writes to Titus, his spiritual child in the faith (1:4), and tells him that the reason for their ungodly living was due in part because Godly men and women were not training up the next generation. However, they needed more than just “sound” gospel teaching (2:1), they needed “sound” gospel living (2:2, 7,10).
The younger generation needed a “good model” (2:7) of what it looked like to follow Jesus. They needed more than just the “how to” book, they needed to observe gospel-centered marriages and families. What they really needed, like Titus, was a “spiritual father” and a “spiritual mother” in the faith.
How many young men and women do we have in our churches today that are spiritual orphans? They may have a biological mom and dad, but they have no one to teach them how to know, love, and live for Jesus. It doesn’t just take a man or woman with biological children, God views us all as “spiritual parents” in the church and calls us to invest into those who are younger in the faith for the sake of the Gospel. Titus 2 tells us that God wants to use someone older than you to teach you and model for you how to live for Him. He wants you to have a “Paul” in your life. He also wants you to have a “Titus” in your life. Now, that may mean vacuuming the insides of a burrito out of your living room carpet, but you must allow people into your mess in order for them to see what living for Jesus really looks like. Is it not in the deepest & darkest messes in our lives that Jesus shows up and rescues us, cleanses us, strengthens, and comforts us? I often want people to see the polished version of me (or my parenting) because of my own pride. In my flesh I want to be glorified as a parent, spouse, friend, or preacher. However, God is most glorified when people see my mess, my weaknesses, my shortcomings, and even my sin and failures, because it is then that they see that I’m not worthy of their praising. If God is to be glorified, we must let others close enough to see that it’s true. Let them not only hear the good news from your lips, but let them see the beauty of the gospel at work in your life.
This week, pray that God would send you a “Paul”, a spiritual father or mother who will not just tell you how to live for Jesus, but show you. Observe their life and so “follow them as they follow Christ”. Pray also that God give you the humility to allow a “Titus” to get close enough to observe your life. Your example won’t be perfect, they will see your flaws, but it’s precisely there that they will see the goodness and glory of your God & Savior Jesus Christ. For it is in those “burrito stomping” moments, that we are most in need of His grace.