Devotional – Thursday, April 16, 2020

“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.”  — Titus 3:9

Amidst the seemingly chaotic conditions we find ourselves in today with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have become torn as a people. The mere potential of spreading the virus to others certainly is reason enough to warrant safe distancing practices, but at what cost? As humans we have an innate need to touch others in simple gestures like a quick kiss, handshakes and pats on the back, as well as a desire to interact, play or frolic with our friends and family. However, we also have a need to work to fulfill financial, personal, and psychological obligations. Yet, restrictions have been put in place by people that we elect for leadership. This puts each of us in a quandary. Do we heed our elected leaders’ warnings or do we violate them for the sake of our personal and familial survival? This is a tough decision to make. Good or bad, right or wrong, there is no denying that it is incumbent upon each of us to help reduce the likelihood of spreading the virus, but many of our elected leaders have used crises such as this all under the guise of pushing a narrative and encouraging votes for a political ideology. The “human” law of the land is often a vague law, but God’s law is forthright and clear. 

We hear stories of clergy conducting face-to-face holy services to parishioners despite governor’s orders. Deemed “non-essential” gatherings, clergy that defy these orders are being fined. The bigger question, then, is why church attendance is not considered essential to livelihoods. To many, it is. It is a proverbial Catch 22 – what humans deem essential is not necessarily consistent, so who has final say? Is argument or defiance worth the potential penalty?

Of Paul’s four main instructions to Titus, Paul tells Titus to “avoid foolish controversies (read: debates).” Endless arguments are detrimental to life as a Christian. Paul later commands Titus to end conversations with divisive people after several warnings. Paul then directs Titus to “avoid genealogies,” implying that God is concerned more with one’s salvation than his heritage. The spreading of the messages of Jesus Christ regarding love, compassion, and being humble are the true pillars of life as a Christian.

Third, Paul commanded Titus to “avoid dissensions,” implying that arguments for the sake of contentious bickering are worthless. The most useful arguments should promote the Christian faith. Finally, Titus was told to “avoid quarrels about the law.” History claims that the false teachers of Crete used the laws of Moses to accuse Christians. Paul commands Titus to refrain from arguments about the details of Jewish law and instead center ministry on Jesus Christ.These four pitfalls are worthless in endeavor and seemingly use up energy, time, and resources, all of which should be used to spread the messages of Jesus Christ. 

The framework of the U.S. Constitution guarantees rights to its citizens, regardless of whether or not a pandemic is present. Legally speaking, after all of this current chaos settles down, surely there will be lawsuits against states for violation of personal and financial rights. But while U.S. and individual state laws provide the framework for the way Americans should conduct their lives, according to Paul, arguments regarding interpretations of these laws are “unprofitable and worthless,” especially amongst citizens. Whether we choose to violate executive orders or obey them, God’s laws will always hold the greatest power within us. Therefore, rather than insert yourself into a fruitless argument, spread the messages of Jesus Christ and do so humbly, compassionately and respectfully. The spiritual dividends will be endless.    

Offered by Trey Earle

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