As the Holy Spirit closes out his manual for church leaders, He instructs Paul to point out some important truths to Titus concerning his relationships with others in the church. Titus 3:12-15 states, “When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them. 14 Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful. 15 All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.” NASU
In case Titus has not figured it out yet, Paul spells it out clearly for him and for us as well. The first lesson is found in verse 12. You will remember that Paul left Titus on the island of Crete to equip and oversee the churches that Paul planted there. Now it seems that Paul is informing Titus that he will soon be called away and be replaced with two other men. That is often a difficult lesson for Christian leaders to learn. God moves people from place to place. Sometimes God replaces leaders in a particular place. We understand this principle in theory and we usually understand when it happens to other people. However, it is often a different story when it happens to us. We tend to get our feelings hurt and/or get defensive. Sometimes it is difficult for us to accept, but accept it we must. It is God’s prerogative to use us or not use us. It is God’s prerogative to move us or keep us in the same place of service. The bottom line is: I can be replaced.
There is a second important lesson found in verse 12. Not only is Titus being replaced, he is being told to report to Paul. I assume that Titus is reporting for further instruction and training. We are not told if this is simply remediation because he had not done a good job thus far or if he will receive additional instruction in order to move him into a position of greater responsibility. It is important for Christian leaders to remain open and receptive to additional training for whatever reason. The bottom line here is: I will always need further instruction.
Verses 13 and 14 deliver an additional message. Even though Titus will soon be called away, Paul reminds him to continue on with the assigned work. In fact, Titus is told to work “diligently” so that “nothing is lacking.” Sometimes when we as Christian leaders find ourselves in a “lame duck” situation we find it hard to stay motivated, to stay dedicated to excellence in our work. Often when we sense our ministry coming to a close, we have a tendency to slack off in our intensity. The bottom line is this: as long as God has me in a particular place of service, I must continue working diligently until the actual removal takes place. Verse fourteen points out that my positive responses to these three truths will cause the general membership of the church to learn to engage in good deeds and be fruitful. As Christian leaders, our behavior will be imitated by the membership. If we want to have a positive and lasting influence on church members, we will build Biblical principles into their lives by modeling obedience to the commands of Scripture and to the authority placed over us.