Scripture: The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Titus 3:8-9 ESV
Observation: The trustworthy saying Paul mentions in verse 8 above refers to the good works of Christ in his life and death “so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (verse 7). Thus, Paul instructs Titus to teach the Cretans to devote themselves to good works. Why? Because they are excellent and profitable. In contrast, when the Cretans remain idle and spend their time disputing their pedigree and God’s laws, it only leads to discord that proves unprofitable and worthless.
Takeaway: Sadly, two millennia later, not much has changed in the life of God’s people. Church leaders continue to dispute the meaning of specific biblical texts that lead to fractions and even schisms. Of course, we should uphold the authority of Scripture and God’s holiness code. Still, it is unprofitable to engage in heated debates over nonessentials such as election versus free will or whether God can love the unsaved. And it is unbecoming to contend that our particular brand of worship or our pastor is better than others (modern-day equivalent to the Cretans’ genealogical arguments). But when we engage in “good works” that elevate the wellbeing of those who are poor in wealth, health, and spirit, we emulate the good works of Christ and bring glory to God (Matthew 5:16). And the outcome proves to be “excellent and profitable for people.”
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for the gift of your Son who labored tirelessly to do your good works so that we might profit from forgiveness and reconciliation with you. Would you please help us follow Christ’s example and actively engage in godly labor that proves profitable to others and grows your kingdom? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling