Titus 2:2-5 – Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (NIV)
Sophie is one of my mature dogs. She is a great help to me, especially on winter's icy paths in the corral, when I steady myself by holding on to her collar. There are times, however, when I don't want her in the corral with me and I command her to stay outside the fence. Most of the time, she obeys, but some days, she comes up over the fence to join me. When this happens, she receives a sharp rebuke and is ordered back out. It is important for her to obey, not only for her own sake, but for the sake of the younger dogs that are avid watchers and shadows. If they see Sophie getting away with disobedience, they are quick to follow suit. As the mature one in the pack, Sophie is the one that I count on to set a good example for the younger canines.
Likewise, God counts on mature Christians to set a good and godly example of Christlike behaviour for the less mature within His kingdom, which means that no matter how old we are, we are never without a job.
The pups watch Sophie closely. Young Christians and those who do not yet know Christ also watch older Christians closely. Just as Sophie receives a sharp rebuke from me when she is not living up to her maturity, so we, as Christians, can expect a sharp rebuke from our Lord when we tarnish His reputation by our immature behaviour.
Retirement is a common word and occupation in the world. But with God's people, retirement is not an option, for though we are in this world, we are not to be of this world. So, let us not grow lazy or indifferent to the task that God has given to all of us mature ones, for there are many watchers to whom we have the privilege of presenting Christ through godly words and actions.
Prayer: Father God, whether we have known You for many a year or only a year or two, help each and every one of us to take seriously the responsibility that You give us to set a godly example in all that we say and do. May we always be aware that we have watchers both within and outside of Your church: those who long to see and know that our beliefs are genuine and a true reflection of You and Your love for mankind. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
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