Jump Start # 2450
Titus 1:16 “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed.”
Our verse today reminds us of the old saying that our walk and our talk must match. Some talk a good story, but what they do just doesn’t follow what they say. Some will claim that the Lord is the most important thing in the world to them, that is, until a friend has an extra ticket to a Sunday ballgame; or, when it comes to tax time, and they fudge a few numbers here and there so they come out ahead.
Paul was telling Titus that the actions of some were denying Jesus. They were disobedient to Jesus. And, in the most harsh words, they were worthless for any good deed. Our times would scorn us for using such language. I can hear folks saying, “Now, they did some bad things, but no one is worthless.” Yet, have you ever chased that word through the Bible. There were a lot of people that the Holy Spirit called worthless.
- The one talent man in Matthew 25
- Eli’s sons in 1 Sam 2
- Abigail called her own husband, Nabal worthless in 1 Sam 25
- Jezebel set two worthless men beside Naboth to falsely accuse him in 1 Kg 21
Indeed God sees value in all of us. Jesus died for all of us. The saving message of the Gospel was to be preached to every person. However, a person becomes worthless to God when they do not live up to the purpose for which God made them. Our verse says, they are “worthless for any good deed.” Don’t count on them to do the right thing, because they won’t. Don’t expect the best out of them, because won’t come through.
We know folks just like this. Toxic co-workers, negative family members, even a few disgusted church members—they seem to be cut for the same cloth. They focus upon themselves. They are only interested in themselves. They will stab anyone they can in the back, steal credit where they can, do as little as possible and create an atmosphere of heartache, tension and suspicion. Do you remember “Pig Pen” in the Charlie Brown cartoons and shows? He always had a cloud of dirt around him. For the worthless person, it’s a cloud of tension, trouble and they spread misery upon everyone else, just like the dirt around Pig Pen.
There are some lessons here:
First, what Paul says is a mirror to what is found in the sermon on the mount. There, Jesus said you will know them by their fruits. Here, it’s not what they say, but what they do, or more accurately, what they don’t do that is recognizable. Worthless people come in all shapes, colors, sizes and ages. How are we to know who is worthless and who is dependable? It’s not what they are saying, but what are they doing. Some want everyone else do to all the work. Dependable people, roll up their sleeves and get busy for the Lord. I’ll never forget a work day we had a long time ago at the church building. And, there in the men’s bathroom, with his hand in a toilet, cleaning it, was a CEO of a large corporation. This guy had lots of people working for him. He had so many managers, secretaries, it was like an army. But he wasn’t too good to clean a toilet at the church house. And, no one ever knew he did that, except me. Worthless or dependable? Your actions will tell.
Second, putting a worthless person into a position of leadership is a mistake. Some have the idea that if you did that then he would step up to the job. Most times not. He’s a guy and he can’t even make it to church services on a regular basis. A church decides to make him a deacon or an elder with the hopes that he will step up his game. Usually, within a few short years the church realizes what a mistake it was appointing someone like that to such an important position of service. Our verse reminds us that some are worthless for any good deed. Don’t count on a worthless person coming through for you. He won’t. Don’t figure on a disobedient person obeying. He won’t. The heart of the worthless person is not right. He needs to take a serious look at his faith and his walk with the Lord. His example to his family and his brethren is discouraging. Rather than helping others carry the load, he, himself, must be carried.
Third, it doesn’t take too much to show our true colors for the Lord. This is true in books. Read a few pages here and there and the careful eye will catch phrases that are not true to the Scriptures. This is true in sermons. Many preachers are smooth talkers, but listen to them carefully and you’ll notice how they use or misuse Scriptures. The same is true with each of us. Spend an afternoon together. Go to a movie together. Sit through a ballgame together. Spend some time in a car together. Conversations will reveal what is important and where were one’s heart is.
Late at night, after a severe beating, Paul and Silas, sitting in a dark prison cell, begin to sing praises to God. No one asked them to do that. They had every reason to just try to get some sleep. But they were alive. God wasn’t through with them. They had reasons to rejoice and be thankful. And, at that late hour they chose to sing hymns. Their true colors came out. Often, it’s the stressful, scary moments in life that our true colors show. Rushing to the emergency room of the hospital with an injured child, a car accident, watching a parent pass away, finding out that your job is no longer available to you, more bills than money, life can be hard, cruel and ugly. Often it is during these “Job” moments of our lives that we find out what faith we really have. Our colors are seen by others.
Good and faithful or worthless…these are determined by our choices, our faith, and our love for the Lord. What are you good for? God made you and wired you just the way you are for a reason. Are you finding that reason and using it to His glory?
You and I usually do not hang on to worthless things around the house. There is not a big reason to save burned out light bulbs, broken dishes, clothes that no longer fit, used Q-Tips, lint that comes out of the dryer, empty Coke cans—we toss those things. They are no longer of any value to us. They are useless or worthless. Don’t be that way with God. Be useful in His kingdom. Find your place and what you can do, and then do it well. If all you can do is stick your tongue out at life, then lick a stamp and mail a card of encouragement to someone. If all you can do is point your finger, then use it to call up someone and let them know that you were thinking of them.
God doesn’t make junk. You were made for a purpose on purpose. We become worthless when we ignore God and live to ourselves. Stop being worthless and become of service to God and His people.