Paul begins this part of this letter to the church at Corinth with a prayer of thanks. Paul, who has encountered many challenges in his work for Jesus, has found in Titus someone who thinks as he does. I think of what a joy this is to me, to find a Christian friend whom I know holds as important the things I value too. Recently, for example, I spoke with a few St. Matthews friends about my burden and hope for the students in our youth group, that they would consider the claims of Jesus on their life and not “outgrow” the church in their late teens but instead find in the church a group of fellow passionate Christ-followers. How glad I was to find others who share this hope for our kids.
So how glad Paul must have been to find Titus, who cared like he cared. How happy we are to find like-minded Christians, and also believers who are an example to us. I think of all the believers who are an example to me; who work hard, and joyfully, and trust God with the outcome. Paul must have been tempted to worry about the church at Corinth, and other of the new churches, tempted in many ways. But in his letter to the church at Philippi, written while his excitement for Jesus had gotten him house arrest, Paul says, “don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for God, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when God displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Phil. 4:6-7, The Message paraphrase). Thank you, Lord, for Paul and his hard-won experience and exhortation.