“Fundamental Tenets of Spiritual Chivalry and Feminine Graces”

where's the toastIt happened to me! I challenged the Hillsdale Baptist Church family with a study from Titus 2 on Mother’s Day and shared a few illustrations offering some levity to my challenge to the “aged men” and “aged women” of the church.

One illustration described a conversation between an elderly couple in their 90’s, of whom the husband was diagnosed with some memory challenges. The doctor encouraged the husband to start writing things down to reduce his frustration with forgetfulness. Enjoying the setting sun, one evening the husband abruptly got up to go in the house.

“Where are you going?” asked the wife.

“To the kitchen” answered the husband.

“Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?”

“Sure.”

“Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?” she asks.elderly

“No, I can remember it.”

“Well, I’d like some strawberries on top, too. You’d better write it down because you know you’ll forget it.”

He says, “I can remember that! You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.”

“I’d also like whipped cream. I’m certain you’ll forget that, so you’d better write it down!” she retorts.

Irritated, he says, “I don’t need to write it down, I can remember it! Leave me alone! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream – I got it, for goodness sake!” Then he grumbles into the kitchen.

After about 20 minutes the old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs.

She stares at the plate for a moment and says – “Where’s my toast?

I loved that story, until it happened to me last night! I told my wife I needed to turn off the pool motor; however, upon my arrival in the kitchen where I keep the pool remote, I could not remember what I was supposed to do.  To make matters worse, Sheilah could not remember and we both started laughing, with the illustration from the morning still fresh in our thoughts [the fact I knew I had forgotten what I was supposed to do was comforting]!older couple

Because we find ourselves living in a day when the obvious concerning male and female is both controversial and politically incorrect, I thought I might take the liberty of sharing some summary thoughts with my readers from a brief family series I began on Mother’s Day and will continue and conclude on Father’s Day, June 19.

In his letter to Titus, the spiritual leader of the churches on the island of Crete, the apostle Paul challenged the young preacher to “speak [tell; proclaim] thou the things which become [befit; proper; fitting] sound [i.e. true; whole] doctrine [teaching; learning; instruction]” (Titus 2:1).  The verses that followed in Titus 2 focused on five specific groups in the churches: 1) “aged men” (2:2); 2) “aged women” (2:3); 3) “young women” (2:4-5); 4) “young men” (2:6-8); and 5) “servants” of whom our modern-day equivalent would be employees (2:9-10).  Titus was to instruct believers concerning their role and responsibility in and to the churches. For the sake of our brief devotional study on this topic, I begin with the “aged men” (Titus 2:2).

Who are the “aged men” in the church and how old is “aged”?

Although there were many exceptions, the average life span in the 1st century was between 30-40 years old [infant deaths, hardships, disease, and war were causes for the brief lifespan].  Generally speaking, a man 40 years or older was an older man; however, rather than a chronological age, I suggest the “aged men” in Titus 2:2 were men whose sons and daughters were adults, the equivalent to our day of 50 years or older.

Closeup of an elderly man looking away in deep thought , depression

More important than their chronological age, was the example and role of “aged men” in the church.  Paul challenged Titus to exhort the “aged men” to be mindful of their responsibility to be godly examples in the church.  We note six godly traits that were to characterize the manner and conduct of the “aged men”.

Titus 2:2“That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.”

The “aged men” were to be “sober” [lit. not drunken; models of moderation].  Their lives were to be testimonies of moderation and contentment.  Rather than the narcissistic, pleasure-seeking spirit that plagues our nation and churches, the “aged men” were to reflect lives not given to excesses and self-indulgent living.

The second trait of the “aged men” is defined as “grave”, indicating the noble character of the older men in the church.  Dignified in their demeanor, the lives of older men in the church were to command the respect of the young men and women.  They were to be testimonies of enduring values and the things that matter most in life.  Conscious of their own mortality and shaped by a lifetime of experiences, including sorrow and disappointments, the “aged men” exemplified in their conduct the seriousness of lives lived in light of eternity.

“Aged men” were also to be “temperate”, examples of prudence and discipline.  Discrete in their words, the “aged men” were to evidence both godly wisdom and self-discipline in what they would say and do.

I will continue my study of the six godly traits of “aged men” tomorrow with the remaining three defined by “sound”, meaning uncorrupt, true in doctrine (Titus 2:3).

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith