Read Titus 1
Focus on verse 15
I seem to recall a time less than half a century ago when there was a sense of decorum in most of our society. I recall that in elementary school we faced fairly severe punishment if we happened to let a cuss word slip within earshot of a teacher. Typically when we got punished at school, we’d get it again at home because the teachers and parents worked together on theses things. In those days there were certain topics and words that were considered sacred – people generally seemed more respectful in those days.
In today’s reading Paul is writing to Titus, a young man whom Paul had been mentoring as a leader. Titus had been assigned the task of organizing the churches on the island of Crete, which apparently was turning out to be no simple assignment. The Cretans were reputably an unruly lot making qualified Christian leaders a rare find. Paul encourages Titus to look for believers who demonstrated a pure heart.
To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. (v. 15)
This tendency of good leaders being hard to find continues to be an issue both inside and outside the church to this day. Part of the issue that has plagued the church in particular is that we tend to measure church leaders by secular standards. Rather than looking for purity in heart and mind, we gravitate toward people who have been demonstrated themselves to be effective leaders in the marketplace. This does not necessarily mean they do not have the kind of pure heart that God seeks for church leaders, but it also does not guarantee that they do.
As I consider the quality of people in leadership positions in both the marketplace and the church in America, I have noticed a disturbing trend. It is not that there are not well qualified leaders available. It is rather that for some reason the most qualified people have little interest in dealing with the headaches and heartaches of leading. As a result those who do show an interest tend to be either those who don’t know how to say “no”, or those who desire to feed their ego by being in positions of power, neither of which is a healthy situation.
The best leaders are those who lead not because they enjoy the power trip, but because they know it is their calling to lead. They are not in it for the money or the prestige, they are in it because it is their passion, and they serve with energy, enthusiasm and determination that only a called person can demonstrate.
They are not perfect, and they still make mistakes, but they also accept responsibility for those mistakes and learn from them. I am confident that somewhere in this next generation are the leaders of tomorrow who will hopefully do a better job of leading in both the church and the marketplace than their parents and grandparents have.