Learning to do good
As Paul closes his letter to Titus, he has one last instruction:
Titus 3:13-14 Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need. Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.
God doesn’t give instructions or directions in the Bible as mere talking points, rather the truths we encounter are meant to be lived out in daily lives. However, Paul also recognizes that doing what is good isn’t as simple as “always doing it” or “always not doing it”. Notice that he tells Titus “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good”. We must learn to be devoted to doing good in every situation. Making these truths a lifestyle will take some time to be developed…but it is certainly achievable.
To help the Cretan believers get started on the path to making a habit of doing good, Paul ends the letter by giving the believers an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned. That is Paul’s point here…now that you’ve been instructed in these things, the next step is to put these things into practice.
Looking at the words Paul chooses helps the Cretans see how much he wants them to take advantage of this opportunity. The phrase do everything you can means to do something earnestly, zealously, or with special urgency. The first step in any process is always the hardest; it is the step we are most timid about taking. The success or failure that occurs with the first step typically sets a tone for the success of a project. As such, Paul wants the Cretans to make a special effort to make their first step a good one.
Helping Zenas and Apollos would have been an easy first step for the Cretan believers. They would get an opportunity to help spread the gospel to other regions, and as a result, the missionaries would be able to continue their journey with fresh supplies. This opportunity created a win-win situation for both the givers and those receiving.
When we support missionaries, we are supporting their ability to fulfill their calling of spreading the gospel…but we’re also developing the characteristics that God wants to grow in us. Giving is a great opportunity for us to learn how to do what is good. It mimics God’s generosity toward us, and anytime we imitate our Creator, we are productively fulfilling the purpose of our lives.