Funny how one word can change a person's whole perspective.
I was reading Paul's letter to Titus and started focusing on the ninth and tenth verses of chapter two:
Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.I knew better than to get hung up on the whole "slaves" thing. I knew that indentured servanthood in the first century shouldn't be confused with images of kidnapped Africans on an auction block.
What caught my attention was that last phrase that spoke to WHY anyone should live in a particular way: "so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive."
That's a nice enough thought as expressed by the NIV translators, but how is it stated in other versions?
The Message says "adding luster to the teaching of our Savior God," more-strongly implying that I can actually be an asset to the gospel...not just a beneficiary of it.
And then I read the Amplified Bible:
...so that in everything they may be an ornament and do credit to the teaching [which is] from and about God our Savior.The word ornament really caught my eye.
It's one thing to think that my honorable and upright behavior can make the teachings of God more attractive. It's another thing to realize that I am one small part of a beautiful Christmas tree; impressive enough on my own, but when viewed in the context of the whole tree...stunning.
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Truth is...There are plenty of examples of ugly ornaments hanging around today. So much so that many people characterize Christianity as being hateful and anti-this or anti-that. In the face of that, we are called to be model employees, honorable citizens, and helpful neighbors. Together, we can add to the beautiful attractiveness of God's love, poured out on us through the Holy Spirit and demonstrated by Christ's sacrifice.
For a musical exploration of this thought, listen to Sara Groves' "Add to the Beauty" by clicking here.