Living with Purpose
Christopher B. Harbin
There are many reasons we give for our existence. There are many objectives we set forth in life as giving our lives meaning and purpose beyond simple existence. Beyond questions of having a reason to live, however, there is always the question of how our lives can contribute to a worthwhile mission. Do we live as though there is a greater purpose to our lives than the simple questions of existence and self-fulfillment? Is there a larger purpose behind our actions, decisions, and way of living?
Paul's letter to Titus contains a list of general advice. Much of the advice in chapter two is not very spiritual. We might wonder at that. We are, after all, reading the Bible, and the Bible is supposed to be God's word for our lives. It is supposed to be a manual, not for life in general, but in terms of knowing, understanding, and following God's will. That should be reason enough to define its purposes as spiritual. If any book has a spiritual message, the Bible should definitely rise to that expectation. So what is so spiritual about Paul's message here to Titus, the missionary he has left behind to strengthen and organize the church in Crete?
Certainly, the church has accepted this letter of Paul's as communicating God's word to the church across the centuries. We have read it, studied it, written commentaries on it, preached from it, and used it for devotional purposes with profit since the First Century. At the same time, these words from Paul seem anything but spiritual, as we read them here. They are a list of actions and attitudes which we would do well to follow, but we might expect to see the same written in any general manual for ethical or moral living, whether Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, or pagan in origin. Basically, these instructions might be summarized along the lines of: ''Be good people and a positive influence on society.'' Yeah, that about covers it, or most of it, anyway.
There is, ...
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