Fresh Zest | Titus 3:9-14
Stay away from mindless, pointless, quarreling over genealogies and fine print in the law code. That gets you nowhere. Warn a quarrelsome person once or twice, but then be done with him. It’s obvious that such a person is out of line, rebellious against God. By persisting in divisiveness he cuts himself off. As soon as I send either Artemas or Tychicus to you, come immediately and meet me in Nicopolis. I’ve decided to spend the winter there. Give Zenas the lawyer and Apollos a hearty send-off. Take good care of them. Our people have to learn to be diligent in their work so that all necessities are met (especially among the needy) and they don’t end up with nothing to show for their lives.
Titus 3:9-14 | MSG
“Condescend to all the weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow-creatures, cover their frailties, love their excellencies, encourage their virtues, relieve their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, compassionate their distress, receive their friendship, overlook their unkindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and condescend to do their lowest offices of mankind.” ~ William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life
What a marked contrast to the closed vault of “mindless, pointless, quarreling over genealogies and fine print in the law code.” And what a marked contrast in this text between that closed, inwardly directed vault of divisiveness in the first part and the exuberant out flowing of life in the meeting, spending, hearty send offs, and diligent work of the latter part. How long it can take us to finally choose and settle into the latter part! As Foster observes in his Celebration of Discipline, when we choose to go and be servants, the grace of humility “will slip in upon us unaware. Though we do not sense its presence, we are aware of a fresh zest and exhilaration with living. We wonder at the new sense of confidence that marks our activities. Although the demands of life are as great as ever, we live in a new sense of unhurried peace…we are aware of a deeper love and joy in God. Our days are punctuated with spontaneous breathings of praise and adoration. Joyous hidden service is an acted prayer of thanksgiving. We seem to be directed by a new control Center – and so we are.” By choosing to go and be servants, we intentionally choose to move away from divisiveness (who has the time? and what is there for us to fight over again?) and into lives that will have much to show for them in the faces of those holding up the garments of grace we knitted for them with love as our only signature. What a way to go.
Do you see any ways in which you are still “locked in a vault of divisiveness”? (You may need to ask someone else to answer this for you!) Overall, does “fresh zest” characterize your life and walk with God? Why or why not?
Lord Jesus, as it would please you, bring me someone today whom I can serve.
One practice. Each day. Hopefully in multiple, unanticipated, creative ways. Don’t just choose to serve today. Be a servant today with all of the inconvenience, all the lack of recognition, all the potential humiliation that entails. Let your pride and agendas go. Be. That. Servant.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.