The Most Valuable
People are important. Seek to provide for those in your life properly.
And hello, radio friends! How in the world are you? Doing all right today? Somebody out there is saying; “Don’t be so cheerful, you don’t know how I feel!” Well, that’s true. I don’t, and if I’m cheerful it’s because I’m that kind of a person, not that I’m unsympathetic with somebody who may be hurting at this very moment. God bless you. When you hurt, you hurt all over, don’t you? And you don’t need somebody shouting at you and telling you to cheer up. I know that, too. I’ve dropped a few tears in my lifetime, but beloved, it does help when somebody who loves you opens the Word of God, and that’s yours truly and here we are with God’s Word.
Titus, the third chapter, winding up our study of that chapter. The last time we got together we talked about the fact that Paul made plans. It’s not unspiritual to plan, but you take God into your plans.
I’m looking just now at a letter that was written to us by one of our graduates, who graduated and went on to get her doctorate and has been teaching at the college level for a number of years. Both she and her husband I have earned doctorates and are college teachers. I want to quote from a letter she sent me. “The older I get, the more the nature of what is done for eternity comes into focus”. That’s quite a phrase, isn’t it? “The older I get, the more the nature of what is done for eternity comes into focus. All professional non-essentials are scratched. It is a truly liberating feeling”. That’s quite a mouthful Doctor, and I want to thank you for sending it.
You see, what really matters is to take God into your planning and let eternal issues be in focus. Well Jesus said long ago didn’t He, Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye”, what, “first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you”. Yes let’s learn to do our planning with God. “I know the thoughts that I think towards you”, said the Lord, “thoughts of good and not of evil to give you a desired end”. His desire and mine, and when they coincide, oh what blessing.
Now, another thing that shows up in these closing verses of the book of Titus is that Paul needed people, appreciated them, and believed in providing for them. He talked of Tychicus and Artemis and Zenas the lawyer and Apollos, the silver-tongued orator and he spoke with appreciation for them. Timothy, second Timothy, is full of references to people, as you know, good and evil. You’ve got Demas, he left, he wanted the world and its and its goodies. Crescens had a ministry in Galatia, Titus went to Dalmatia, Mark he said, “Take Mark and bring him with you for he’s profitable to me”. Only Luke, faithful Dr. Luke was there dishing out a pill or two when it was needed. “Tychicus, I sent to Ephesus”, he spoke about Carpus who had been his host evidently in Troas. He spoke of Alexander, the coppersmith, who did him much evil, and he goes on to gives greetings to Priscilla and Aquila and Erastus and Trophimus, who he left at Miletus ill, and Eubulus and Pudens and Linus, and Claudia. My the list of friends and loved ones that he gave there!
Paul knew, as you and I certainly ought to know, that people are important. You’re not alone, either in your accomplishments or certainly in your failure. When you accomplish something it’s because other people have been working with you for God’s glory, and when you fail other people are desperately hurt by your failure. People, Paul valued people and appreciated them. Paul knew that he needed people and he believed in making provision for them. Notice what he said, well he said to Titus, you hurry up and come to me at Nicopolis because I’m going to spend the winter there. Come to me at Nicopolis.
Is it any sin to want people? You know, we live in such a twisted, old world that anytime you show any appreciation for anybody somebody’s looking for the angle that you might be playing. It’s a pity, but that’s how the unsaved mind works. No, beloved I’ve learned long ago that honest love and appreciation is all right by the grace of God. You can encourage people, you can tell them you appreciate them, and you can just be right straight out and tell them that you need them. It’s a matter of fact.
Benjamin Franklin said, “If you want a friend, ask him to do a favor for you”. Remember reading that in Ben Franklin’s writings? If you want to make a friend, ask him to do you favor. It’s no sin to need people. It is a sin to manipulate people. There is a vast difference between those two concepts. Oh he said, Titus hurry up and come on to me because I will be here all winter long and I need you. Now, needing people has to be balanced by helping to meet other people’s needs. Paul was an expert at that. Everywhere he went, he was ministering to the needs of people, wasn’t he? Physically as well as spiritually. He brought love offerings from one church to another area that was suffering, and he brought the message of liberation in Christ wherever he went.
So, your statement of your need for somebody else has to be balanced for your willingness to become vulnerable to their need. Let’s look at it from that point of view for a moment. Look at your family first of all. Those people with whom you live every day and whom you take, God knows, mostly for granted, have some very real needs. A very outstanding Christian in our day has written a book about the fact that while he was busy doing his job and learning verses and getting up at four in the morning to pray and going to meetings and giving his testimony, he was completely ignoring his dear wife. Left her out because he was so busy for God and their chance meetings, either social or physical, were chance, they weren’t anything significant he said. One day she said I want out. I’m numb, I’m dead. I’m not in your life at all. And it just devastated him. He hadn’t realized it. He said, it took two years to get back at all where he ought to be, but he worked at it.
And there is a story for every one of us, not only husbands and wives but children and parents. Did you know, sonny boy, that although most of your thoughts are taken up with what you want and need in your teenage years, I’m sure that’s true, did you know that mother and daddy have some needs that you could fill? You know, it’d be wonderful if you came to your dad and threw your arms around his neck and gave him a hug and say, Dad, I love you, without that is asking them for a buck. Parents generally get to know that when children are affectionate, there is an angle. You know, I love you Daddy, give me a dollar, but it would be, your folks long for some genuine uncalculated expression of real love and appreciation. It would mean a lot to Mom if you told her one night after dinner, that was a great meal Mom. You’re the best cook in the world, I love you. I tell you, she would savor the taste of that complement for days. You see what I mean?
Folks with whom you live, you take them for granted, take for granted that your clothes are washed and ironed, neatly put away so you can grab them on your way to work or school. You take for granted that there’s a roof over your head and there’s heat in the wintertime and the air conditioner works in the summertime and the lawn is mowed and things are shipshape. You take all that for granted, but somebody had to do it and it’d be a very nice thing to say thank you, wouldn’t it?
So, what I’m saying is, we need to be aware of other people’s need, a need to be recognized, a need to be loved, and need to be appreciated, and a need to be involved. How long has it been since you said, “”Mom I think I would like to go to this particular affair, what do you think?” You know, we get away from that don’t we? In the process of growing up, you say I want be my own person, I want to be me. Well hey; don’t be too quick to cut all the ties that bind you to that loving association with mom and dad. Yes, they’re responsible for you and sometimes they have to blow the whistle, but oh it would be so refreshing to them if you’d involve them in some of your planning. You want to think about that buddy, daughter? Be helpful, wouldn’t it? I think it would.
So people need to be noticed, they need to be appreciated, and they need to become involved in what you’re doing and in that way, you actually minister to some of their needs.
Now, I’ve covered both sides of the subject, only in a sketchy fashion as you know. The time goes so quickly and you can delve into it, but what I’ve said to us today, and certainly to my own heart as well as to yours, is that it’s not unspiritual to know that you need people and to tell them so. One of the best ways if you’re a supervisor to get cooperation is just to level with folks and say, I can’t do my job without you and here’s what I need from you in order to be successful, all of us as a team. The same thing is true in a family, the same thing is true in a school, the same thing is true in a church, in every relationship of life. Unbend a little and admit that you need somebody else and tell him or her so, and then at the same time, specialize will you, in helping to meet the needs of other folk?
Don’t make a federal case of it. Don’t come up and say, “Oh, brother I want to meet any need you have in your life. What is it”? Oh come on, don’t be that way. Nobody wants someone who is officially helpful. Sometimes you ladies are busy in the kitchen and you have company and the other lady comes out and says now, “How may I help?”, and you try to be polite, but in your heart you only wish that she would go and sit down. Isn’t that true? Anybody who is officially helpful is apt to be a nuisance, so watch it. Don’t be officious, just be real and loving and kind and vulnerable. Willing to feel the hurt of another person’s hurt, willing to feel the pressure of another person’s burden, willing to acknowledge that like you, their human and need some encouragement.
Now, Paul believed in providing for people in Christian work. He said, “Brings Zenas, the lawyer, and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting”. What he was saying to Titus was, you take some offerings for these fellows. We do want them to go out broke. We want everything provided for them. People are important and if they are important, you want to provide for them properly, right? Anybody in Christian work has probably had the experience, like the rest of us, in having people give them the minimum. Well, you know, I would like to give you more brother, but the church roof needs repairing and we’ve had a lot of bills and so here it is. Missionaries get this, evangelists get it and all the rest of us have gotten it, from time to time. It’s distressing.
Don’t stinge on God’s people if you are helping them do some piece of work. If you’re equipping a missionary, don’t give him a secondhand car, give him a new one. If you’re helping an evangelist, don’t give him a stingy little offering. I had one love offering, many years ago, that was taken, the man said, “Now I know that all of us have bills to pay so you’re not going to give very much in paper money, but I want you to give all the silver that you have in your pocket”. Oh great day. Well, so be faithful to people if you’re helping to meet their needs in equipping them. People are important and they need to be provided for properly. Amen. Well, one more thought is coming up the next time we get together, we’ll wait for that.
Dear Father today, help us to value people, help us to be a blessing to people, and help us Lord God to work together with people to do your will, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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