Mother's Day 2010
3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
A man was waiting in line to get the author to sign his latest book. He was leafing through the book and the woman in line behind him commented, "That is the best book I've ever read. I couldn't put it down." Before the man could reply, the author looked up and said, "Oh, cut it out, Mom!"
Or what do you think of this one. While assembling furniture, a woman asked her roommate's five-year-old son to bring her a screwdriver. "Do you want a 'Daddy' screwdriver or a 'Mommy' screwdriver?" the little boy asked. Confused but preoccupied, the woman said, "Bring me a 'Mommy' screwdriver." The child came back and handed her a butter knife.
I can go on. A husband was having problems assembling a new computer and called the help desk. The man on the phone started to talk in computer jargon, which confused the poor husband even more. "Sir," the husband politely said, "please explain what I should do as if I were a four-year-old." "Okay," the computer technician replied. "Son, could you please put your mommy on the phone?"
In this day when most mothers work, there are many new challenges to meet. A working mother with an office in her home prided herself on maintaining a professional image. One key to that image was her answering-machine greeting, which was often the first contact clients had with her. She worked on making it sound upbeat and enthusiastic, and thought she had succeeded until a friend left this message: "Judy, this is Pam. I love your greeting, but do you know that you can hear your little boy in the background saying, 'Mommy, I gotta go potty'?"
Dealing with kids is always hectic. There was a mother of three high-spirited young girls. A friend called her one morning, but the din of kids screaming and chasing each other constantly interrupted their conversation. "Could you hold on for a moment?" the mother finally asked, putting down the phone.
Within ten seconds, all the friend could hear was absolute silence. Then, the mother said, "Okay, I'm back."
"But it's so quiet!" the friend exclaimed. "You must have complete control over those three."
"Not really," the mother confessed wearily. "I'm in the closet."
One evening after dinner, a five-year-old noticed that his mother had gone out. He asked his father where she had gone. Father says, "Mommy is at a Tupperware party." The boy thought about that and then asked, "What's a Tupperware party?" The father believed in giving simple honest answers to his son and so he said, "At a Tupperware party, a bunch of ladies sit around and sell plastic bowls to each other." The son burst out laughing, and said, "Come on, Dad. What is it really?"
I admit that I also have never been able to figure out the attraction of a Tupperware party. I was always just glad that I did not have to go.
In our verses today, the author is giving advice. This is the kind of thing Titus should teach his congregation. In chapter 2:1, he tells Titus to preach and teach what is good, true, and wholesome. V2 has advice for older men. They should be sensible and serious. They should have faith and love and patience. They should be models of self-control. Certainly, that is good advice, not only for older men, but for all people of all ages. We should all be “sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness” (2:2 ESV).
Then we come to v3, which is addressed to “aged women.” Now I realize that is a problem. Raise your hands, ladies, who thinks they are an “Aged Woman”? That is what I thought. No one. Hence, this verse is not speaking to anyone here, I guess. Poor Titus has lost its audience.
However, do not worry about that. Do not worry about the “aged women.” Because what Titus says applies to everyone.
I like the phrase in the KJV, “that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness,” but it is a little obscure. What does it mean? Let us take this apart piece by piece. A holy person is one who is consecrated or devoted to God.
The verb “become” has several meanings. I sometimes hear women say, “Your dress or your suit is very becoming.” I seldom heard a man say that. It means you look good in that outfit. But let us go back to holiness. Holiness is a way of living; it is a kind of behavior. What Titus is saying to us is that we should live in such a way that people will say to us, your behavior is very becoming. We should behave as people who love the lord. The OT priest devoted his life to serving God in the temple. In the NT, we are all priests and priestesses of God and our lives are the temple. We are to live as offerings to God. Our life has a sacred meaning attached to it and our behavior should reflect that sense of the sacred.
We read in 1 Corinthians, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (10:31 ESV) again Paul is saying the same thing. You have Jesus Christ in you. That makes your life sacred. You should behave like your life is sacred.
Paul says viturally the same thing to the Philippians. “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8 ESV).
If you would like to use this image, it is like our behavior is a perfume, a fragrance. As we go through life, our behavior generates a certain fragrance tht surrounds our life. Paul is emphasizing tht Chrisitans should have the fragrance of holiness.
In the OT, the priest went into the holy place to burn incense to the Lord, and even when he left the temple, the fragrance is still on his garments, and anyone coming near tohim would know that he had been in the holy place, thast he had been with the Lord.
There’s an aura, a glow, about Godly people, as the beauty of Christ radiates from their lives.
Titus gives us a few examples of what he has in mind. This is not all we are to do, just some samples.
We should not be false accusers. You might be interested to know that the Greek word that is translated as “false accusers” is “διαβολους,” which means, as you might guess, the devil or Satan. The devil is always the slanderer the false accuser. Look at the book of Job. The whole plot of the book is based on the devil’s false accusations against Job. Therefore, when we make false accusations against another person, we are literally Satan.
That shows us how careful we should be about Gossip. I am afraid that we do not take gossip very seriously. We like to joke about it.
Did you hear the story about the three preachers. They are a boat far from land. They decide they are going to confess their sins. The first one says, 'Well, I have a problem with alcohol. I like to take to the bottle sometimes.' The second one says, 'Well, I have a problem with lust. I desire every woman I see.' One of the others asks the third one, 'Well, what is something that you have a problem with?' The third preacher replies, 'Gossip, and I can't wait to get back to shore!'
Well, most gossip is just idle talk about people. As human beings, we like to talk about ourselves and each other, and it is mostly harmless, but false accusations are not harmless. False accusations can devastate people’s lives and destroy relationships. We do not have to be aged women to be told that we should not do that sort of thing.
Titus also says that we should not be “given to much wine.” I actually like the NRSV translation better here. It says that we should not b e “slaves to drink.” To be a slave in this case is to be addicted. To devote our lives to something other than that sacred meaning that God has given to them. If we are addicted to any drug, whether legal or illegal, we are not behaving in a way that becomes a life of holiness. We were made for something better. That is what Titus is saying. You are a priest or a priestess of God. Do not sell yourself short.
Then lastly, v3 says that we are to be “teachers of good things.” Since he has been talking about our behavior, we assume that he is talking mostly here about teaching by example, by living a good life.
If our way of living is “as becometh holiness,” we will indeed be “teachers of good things.”
Certainly part of this teaching is what we say. We are not like the monks and nuns of some monasteries and convents. We have not taken a vow of silence. We should live a holy life and that includes saying holy words.
Proverbs 31:26: “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
We should teach by both word and deed. However, I am afraid that the world does not pay much attention to what we say; the world pays much more attention to what we do. Let a Christian say something insensitive or do something wrong and the world will write it in huge letters in the sky. So you had better believe people are watching you.
That is what v4 says basically that the “Aged women,” by the holy lives that they are leading, are training the younger women to live that same way.
And this is probably the most effective training. That reminds me of a story I heard about G. Campbell Morgan. Morgan was a very well known minister in England in the first part of the 20th century. He had four sons and all of them were ministers. At a family reunion, a friend asked this family of preachers, "Which Morgan is the greatest preacher?" Without hesitation, they all answered, "MOTHER."
Mother was the greatest preacher. Many mothers do a lot of preaching to their children, whether they call it preaching or not.
I read about an epitaph that a husband wrote on his wife’s tombstone after 60 years of marriage, read, "SHE ALWAYS MADE HOME HAPPY." She must have been a great woman. It was a joy just to be around her. Any of us would be glad if people would say that about us after we have passed on.
Looking back at Proverbs 31, we read in verses 11-12: “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” Now admittedly this is describing a perfect woman, but many women attain something of this in their lives.
There is a story about a grandmother saying goodnight to her granddaughter. The little girl said, "Mommy and daddy are entertaining some very important people downstairs."
"You’re right," grandma agreed, "but how did you know that?”
“Just listen,” said the little girl, “Mommy is laughing at all of daddy’s jokes.”
Mommy was being gracious, I guess, but there is nothing wrong with that. That is part of living in the beauty of holiness. I have always believed that if Jesus is in a person’s life, that person should be full to the overflowing with happiness and laughter. Prov. 17:22 "A cheerful heart is good medicine..." When there is a lot of laughter in our lives, we are serving out some good medicine, and a lot of love.
A teacher at school put this question to little James in math class, "James, suppose your mother made a cherry pie, and there were ten of you at the table: your mother and father and eight children. How much of the pie would you get?"
"A ninth," was his answer. "No, no, James. Now pay attention. There are ten of you in the home. Don’t you know your fractions?"
"Yes, maam," he replied, "I know my fractions, but I know my mother even better, and she would say that she did not want any pie.” The unselfishness of a mother shows a heart of love for her family.
They were doing some remembering of moms in the newspapers this week and one lady said of her mother, "Being a single working mother, mom always put our wants and needs beyond her own. After a painful divorce, she remarried after 12 years. They lived three beautiful years together until he had a massive stoke, leaving him paralyzed and unable to speak. Refusing to admit him to a nursing home, she stopped working and cared for him around the clock until last year, when he passed on. Struggling to get over her own grief, she hung on to life, still finding time to care and give attention to those around her..." I’d say that mother had a heart of love!
Let me close with this poem by Floyd Wood. It is called simply, "Mother's Are.."
Blowers of noses and washers of ears,
Smoothers of bumped spots and wipers of tears,
Bathers of babies and umpires of spats,
Finders of boots and mittens and hats,
Helpers with lessons and makers of beds,
Shakers of dust cloths and combers of heads,
Button-sew-oners and winders of clocks
Menders of dresses and darmers of socks.
Tellers of stories and readers of books,
Judges and juries of conduct and looks,
Doctors of heartaches and hearers of prayers,
Generals directing all family affairs,
Tenders of home fires and builders of men,
(Oh, for the gift of an adequate pen!)
Aren’t you thankful today for mothers / women of God? As Mother’s Day, today is a day to honor them, but as the Lord’s day, it’s a day to glorify God…and what would glorify Him more than for women to recommit themselves today to their mandate, to teach, and learn, to have the irresistible glow of Godliness, the attractive scent of one who’s been with God, the fragrance of holiness.
If you have questions or comments, email Tony Grant
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