Titus Email – January 2020

Volume 14, Number 1– JANUARY, 2020

Greetings.  Happy New Year.  I pray you faithfully serve the Lord in 2020 and see how He uses you for His glory and honor.  It is a privilege to serve in His Kingdom and He chooses to use us.  What a blessing and honor for us.  Remember it is only Jesus we want people to see and hear as we live our lives.                                 Mike

          Barzillai.  Who or what is that?  Barzillai is a person found in the Old Testament that has a few verses in 2 Samuel letting the rest of the world that he existed.  Does that help your memory as you have occasionally read through that book?
          Let me help refresh your memory.  In 2 Samuel 15, David has to flee Jerusalem because Absolom, David’s son, conspires to take over Israel’s throne with David as king.  David ends up fleeing to the hilly country east of Jerusalem for protection.  Some of area that David and his faithful 37 warriors camp out in is where modern Jordan is today.  They came upon the location of Mahanaim where they encounter three men who were sincerely gracious to these outcasts. 
          One of these three men is Barzillai (2 Samuel 17:27-29).  Barzillai the Gileadite is about 80 years old and quite wealthy (2 Samuel 19:32).  With the two others, Shobi an Ammonite and Makir from Lo Debar, they supplied David and his gang with bedding, serving bowls and cooking pots, all items David needed to survive. 
          Then David and his pursued party were served a feast, feeding them extremely well with quite a spread.  The men were well fed and revived.  Barzillai and his two companions who were not of the same tribe as David met David at the point of great need and was extremely generous, something David would not forget. 
          Eventually Absolom was killed and David could then return to his kingdom and palace back in Jerusalem.  Barzillai joined in on the march and crossed over the Jordan River with David (2 Samuel 19:31-40).  David wanted Barzillai to join him in Jerusalem and David would take care of Barzillai for his generosity. 
          Barzillai being old wanted to return home so he could die in his own home.  In place of him, Barzillai suggested Kimham who was probably a son of his to take his place, which David did.  For the rest of his life Kimham would be taken care of and was an attendant of David’s.  David did bless Barzillai before returning home which was about a good day’s walk (30 or so kilometers?) over rugged terrain.
          For Barzillai, he saw a need and wanted to help out someone in need when he met up with David and his party in the wilderness.  That was vision on his part.  Barzillai simply pursued having the honor of the joy of blessing others.  He needed no other accolades or rewards.  His reward was the joy that resulted in blessing others.  In addition, Barzillai added value to David a couple of times by what the food and supplies given to David when on the run and also providing Kimham to be with David when he returned to Jerusalem.
          In a few short verses we learn how generous Barzillai was.  He was not simply generous when an important person or dignitary showed up.  Rather it was his lifestyle, part of his DNA.  If he was living today, first he would stand out because of his name, but much more important, Barzillai would have pointed people very quickly to Jesus.  This man came along at a time when David was in desperate straits.  Without the generosity of Barzilai, perhaps David would not have returned to the throne and died out in the wilderness. 
          We also have opportunities to by God’s grace and control of all things in the world, be used in ways that impact the lives of others we may never receive any credit for or play a roll for “such a time as this” as Esther did, to be in position to used by God to impact what is done on this earth.  God does not need us to accomplish His will but allows us to play key roles.  Are you up for such an opportunity, even if no one ever know that it was you who played that role?  Is the focus me or Jesus?  That answer may impact what opportunities we “step into”!
              It is a new year.  Perhaps you have either committed to yourself or to a few others, something that you want to change or develop in your life.  Maybe you are committing to be a better student, to pull up your grades in a certain subject, possibly  working to be a better friend or this year is the year you are going to train better, to be the athlete you dream about.  Hopefully you will stick to what you said or are hoping you would do. 
          One area that does not get much emphasis is our character, which in reality affects every area of our lives.  A man named Thomas Mccauley said, “The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he would never be found out.”  Think about that for a minute.  There are things we do not attempt doing because we figure we will be found out and then have to own up to what we did. 
          What would happen if everyone in our school, where we work or even in our family, if each one of us was diligent about becoming a better person of integrity – what we do by ourselves is the same as in public.  Basically, am I the same person in public as I am in private?  People who are consistently the same tend to be trusted more, are more reliable and viewed with greater respect. 
          Here is a simple test.  Let’s say you found $5 on the floor in your classroom or your work area.  Would you turn it in, wait until it is made known that someone is missing the money, or not tell anyone, keep it a secret and claim it as yours, “Finders’ keepers, losers’ weepers!”?  Would it make a difference if what you found was $5000, would the circumstances change? 
          If you want to develop in your integrity, here are some practical ways to become potentially know as a person of integrity.  Do the right thing in the little things of life (Luke 16:10-12).  The little things in life develop the habits for how one handles the big things.  Do we tell the whole truth or do we hold back a little or tell little white lies, that does not affect the real truth too much?  If you say you will do something, do you do it or neglect it?  Do you complete your school assignments?  Do you show up to work a few minutes late or start on time but stand and talk with other employees for a while before getting to your tasks? 
          Another thing to develop integrity is you do what you say you will do.  If I promise something to anyone, I keep my word, no matter what it cost me.  If people know my word is golden, that what comes out of my mouth, I am committed to, people will take notice of me!
          There are things in life we really do not want to do but have to because of responsibility or it is simply part of life.  Do those things before doing what you want to do because then those tougher tasks will get completed.
          Here is one we all know but wrestle with, simply be honest and own up to what you have done.  Tell the truth no matter the cost.  That is doing the right thing in your life.  If telling the truth all the time was easy, most of the problems in the world would vanish.  Telling the truth causes people to know they can trust us, and that we will not gossip about them.  It is pretty probable telling the truth will cause us to speak less because we will not have to cover up lies or having to go on and on, explaining why we did something the way we did. 
          Committing and living a life of integrity takes guts, courage to do the right things consistently and the willingness to face the consequences of telling and living the truth.  Yet the consequences of not telling and living the truth are normally much worse.  Yet there will possibly be times that by living truthfully and pursuing integrity, you will suffer for doing the right things. Look at Jesus.  He was sinless but suffered for our wrong (1 Peter 3:15-18).  In the Old Testament, Joseph did the right thing and was thrown into prison (Genesis 39).
          If you are willing to commit to pursue a godly, strong character, a man named John Maxwell offered a statement that people could sign and follow.  It is below.  Please consider pledging to this. 
      I commit myself to being a person of character.  Truth, reliability, honesty, and confidentiality will be the pillars of my life.  I will treat others as I expect to be treated.  I will live according to the highest standards of integrity amid all of life’s circumstances.