Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that is in accordance with godliness, in the hope of eternal life that God, who never lies, promised before the ages began— in due time he revealed his word through the proclamation with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Saviour, to Titus, my loyal child in the faith we share: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.
How many of us have pondered the questions – ‘who am I?’ and ‘why am I here?’ We can think about these questions on a basic level, each of us has a name, each our own personal story and each one of us will have goals and aspirations which can help to form our identity. But when we think about our being, our personal identity and the meaning of our lives, do we do so with God at the centre; is God’s will firmly in mind at all times?
The letter to Titus sets a challenge to us. It was written to a very ordinary set of believers and encourages them, and us, to consider their (and our) lives as an expression of the will of God. Once we do this, any sense of ordinariness is out of the picture, no matter which direction God has led us in. We are all a vital piece of the puzzle of God’s plan for the world and each piece has meaning and value.
In this salutation, Paul tries to set out what he believes is his purpose. He speaks of himself as God’s ‘servant’. This is unique to this Epistle, although in other writing he does refer to himself as a servant of Christ Jesus. A servant is someone who is committed to their master, they are compelled to act for them and will be submissive to their masters will. Paul’s ministry focused on salvation and the spiritual growth of others. He lived to bring God’s people to faith and maturity in Christ. He did this by encouraging them, not only did he sow the seed, he cultivated it. God’s purpose remained at the centre and Paul was keen to encourage this way of life. Let us commit to trying to live our lives seeking God’s will and placing it at the centre of all we do and all we are.
Lord God, we often ask ourselves, who are we and why are we here? Your purpose for us can seem fuzzy and unclear. Help us to refocus our minds and to set you at the centre of our lives. Help us, with the help of others, to discern where it is you might be leading us, and may we always truly mean the words we often pray, your will be done. Amen.
The Rev’d Joshua Thomas is Minister of Petersfield and Liss URC with Bordon.