In the entire book of Titus, Paul’s pastoral epistle for the church in Crete, the church there was expected to exemplify the correct characteristic of a Christian. In chapter 1, we saw that the church needs elders to set things in order.
In chapter 2, we explored the importance of discipleship within the mixed congregation.
Lastly, in chapter 3, we were taught that we ought to be part of the bigger community. We have a responsibility to do “good works”—out of our love towards Christ and others—to show who really Christians are.
Sadly, many churches do not value the works of our missionaries, evangelists, and even local pastors. It was in this kind of thought where Paul is reminding the church to appreciate and value our ministry workers. Not that they deserve it, but because they are not perfect. They are as flawed as we are. They struggle in sin; they experience similar sufferings as how most human beings do. I like how Eugene Peterson called them; they are “wounded healers.” They take care of others while taking care of themselves.
In verse 12, you can see how Paul desired to meet Titus. Maybe they will have a meeting, a sabbatical leave, or another mission assignment. But clearly, in here, you can see how Paul values mentoring and discipleship. That Paul is not merely instructing Titus but also showing Titus the ways of ministerial works.
So, Titus, as we know when we started the Titus series, was with Paul in Jerusalem, then Ephesus and Corinth. Also, in Philippi before going to Crete. Now after Crete, Paul is telling Titus to go to Nicopolis and later to Dalmatia (Yugoslavia).
Make sure to “help” Zenas and Apollos. The church ought to support fellow missionaries. The church’s role in supporting missions is told here. The “help” is the same as hospitality, “make sure they lack nothing.” Their accommodation, food, and more. Why?
Remember, there was no train, no plane back then. They needed to travel by walking, hiking, months and weeks in a ship just to deliver the letter before going to another place. Here most likely going to Alexandria or another part of Northern Africa.
Devoting to do good works, the main theme of Paul’s letter, and assisting or helping the urgent needs in the church. This opportunity to assist Zenas and Apollos is one more example of how Christians can be involved in good works, providing needs, and furthering the gospel.
Hence, giving to the church matters. It is not something optional. It is necessary to the Christian faith because it is for the cause of proclaiming Christ to others. Our fund is not only for self-enrichment but rather for missions and providing the urgent needs of the church. We are not a mere institutional church; we are a missional church. That is our goal.
This part is like the signature line of the writer. Like “Sincerely Yours, or Lovingly, or Yours Truly.” Here, this is very important to know. Letters during Ancient times were designed to be read in public out loud. So, even this is addressed to Titus, this letter is intended to be read out loud. Meaning, everyone ought to hear these words.
1. Pray for them. Scottish Baptist minister, Oswald Chambers, said: “Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work.”
2. Promote relationships. Ask the leaders of the church, “how can we keep in touch with them?” Make sure that you also know the person. Add them on Facebook.
3. Prevent or Protect them. Do not create rumors or gossip about our ministerial workers. It is not well for anyone to have a divisive spirit when it comes to the ministry of God. Being accountable is also part of this.
4. Plan to visit. Let us plan as a church to visit where they are working.
5. Prioritize giving. It is in giving where we take part in the broader ministry.
6. Praise or Appreciate their works.
7. Participate in ministry activities.
8. Lastly, Pause and pray. Every time you remember the person or the place where we have missions and outreaches, practice pause and pray. Pause from whatever you were doing and pray for a minute or two.
We ought to be intentional in valuing our ministerial workers. As to how Paul ended his letter, “Grace be with all of you.”
Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
October 24, 2021
This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.