Titus Connection November 2021


Volume 15, Number 11 – NOVEMBER, 2021

Greetings.  We are quickly getting through 2021.  For some it has be a very difficult year, that has been a continuation from last year due to COVID issues.  Others have faced losing loved ones.  Positive changes have occurred during this year too, to include developments through WILD’s ministry.  God has been very gracious to WILD for many years to include this year.  We thank the Lord for allowing WILD to be a part of His Kingdom work.  What a privilege that is!  Mike


          A shepherd had two primary tools to perform his job, the rod and staff In the time of Jesus.  As you travel throughout the world this rod is given different names.  In Ireland, the rod is called a knobberrie, in the Middle East, a shebet and in portions of Africa, an iwisi.  To create a rod, it is a root cut out of the ground.  On one end of the root is a bulb or large knot.  This tool can be thrown with pinpoint accuracy by a shepherd who knew how to throw it, thus being a fierce weapon in a few ways.
          A shepherd’s staff was used to direct the sheep or in our case the people and the rod’s role was to responsibly correct.  In leadership one of our goals is to develop on our personal leadership abilities including building and enhancing relationships.  Figuratively a rod in the hands of a quality leader is to be used fairly and wisely as we show respect and love to the people we have responsibility for.  If we use our responsibility to correct people poorly, people will look elsewhere for someone to shepherd them.
          The truth is if we sincerely want to help develop our people and at times, that does mean to correct them, then we are serious about building a solid, honest relationships with them.  When we have to deal with correction, our people know we desire the best for them. 
          Several purposes of the rod include protecting the sheep from predators.  A quality shepherd is willing to stand and protect one’s flock, willing to put one’s life on the line for the sheep.  We protect our people from aggressors who want to in whatever way attempt to destroy them.  This involves praising our people in public (when there needs to have praise given) and critiquing or disciplining in private (to publicly not destroy the person). 
     For example, if a problem results or if something did not go right or was a mistake, being the leader, we take the heat and repercussions as the leader of the group.  Protect them and allow them to save face.  Deal with the problem or issue but do so privately.  When good or praiseworthy things happen, make sure that those who deserve to be recognized are given recognition.  Do not steal their praise.
      Also a part of this application is to protect your team within your team.  If one team member is out to destroy or tarnish another team member, you being the lead person, need to step in and protect your attached person.  Do not allow grumbling, slander and vicious attacks on others happen or continue to happen.
     Another purpose of the “rod” is people are like sheep and make bad decisions or compromise their safety sometimes.  Sheep if they were straying away would at times have the wooden rod be thrown at them to have them come back to the fold.  There will be at times we have discipline our team members.  Without alienating them, discipline is a course correction, a change in the direction a person was heading.  These are teaching opportunities, not figurative beating someone over their head with their mistake. 
     The Latin word for discipline is pupil.  Pupils learn from their teachers, not get beat up or emotionally destroyed.  They need instruction to help them see further down their path, to see the error of their way or what the consequences could possibly be if the pupil would continue down such a path.          Now if you the leader are working to develop a quality relationship with that pupil, the probability increases that the pupil will accept your discipline.  You have to prove your trustworthiness and your integrity.  When in leadership, your most important responsibility is to grow quality relationships with those you are responsible for. 
     One last purpose of the “rod” was to count the sheep as they were returning to the pen or “passing under the rod of the shepherd”.  When the sheep would pass under the rod, the shepherd would not only count but also inspect the wool, detecting potential health problems.  With the people you are responsible for, you need to regularly check on their growth, their progress, their relationships with others, their spiritual life and how they are doing in real life. 
      This can be intentionally calling on them to see how they are doing, asking on ways you can help or carefully suggesting ways you could possibly be of assistance.  I need to be willing to help, and also help them grow.  If we see where someone is going astray or needs encouragement in a specific area of their life, then we have to be willing to come along side and do what we can do.  This can get messy and complicate our lives somewhat but Jesus said the world will know we are his disciples if we love one another (John 13:34-35).  And loving others has potential to be messy.  That is a price to be a leader who serves Jesus with all one’s heart. 


          In ancient days, Babylonian Empire King Nebuchadnezzar conquered many countries during his reign.  A practice he implemented once he would secure a foreign land was to take captive young men who were gifted with knowledge, good judgment and well suited to serve in a royal setting.  His captives were sent to his palace in Babylon to train and develop these young people by teaching them the Babylonian culture, Babylonian literature, language and feeding them the finest foods and drink that the King ate over the course of three years. In addition, they all were given Babylonian names.  Needless to say, these young men lived well.
          One of the young men due to his upbringing, Daniel (Daniel 1), made the decision to not defile himself by eating the food offered to the young men.  To make this known, he had to present himself to the attendant (eunech) in charge over the young guys to not eat the unacceptable food.  Rather than emphatically stomping into his attendant’s office and complain that he was refusing to eat the King’s food, he shared an alternative solution to the problem.  A major part of the issue for the attendant was if any of the young men placed in his charge looked pale and thin compared to the other youths, the King would have the attendant beheaded. 
          By respectfully offering the attendant an alternative solution of being allowed to eat a diet of vegetables and water for ten day at which time the attendant would compare the ones eating vegetarian meals to the ones eating the King’s diet, this gave the boss attendant a way out.  At the same time the group eating the vegetarian meals would not violate their consciences.  The final decision was still in the hands of the attendant.  When the ten days ended, the vegetarian group looked healthier and better nourished than the others.  Therefore, the attendant fed all the young men the new diet!
          Learn to think, asking for the Lord’s guidance, of more than one way to solve issues.  Far too often when we have any issue or problem, we want someone else to solve it for us rather than taking the time to consider options that we may have floating around in our brains.
          At the same time, it is okay to ask others who you trust and know that they have your best interest in mind, what they think and together, come up with possible solutions.  Why opt for options?  The more options you have, the greater possibility for creative solutions.  Secondly, the more options you have, the more you can see what is not obvious to others.  (Successful people see options.)  Finally, options are a result of thinking differently, thinking outside the obvious and simply and actually thinking!
          Why even talk about this topic?  Often when we see an obstacle, we have the tendency to indicate that what we want to do is not God’s Will.  That is possible but carrying out what God is leading us to do, does not mean there are no obstacles along the way.  Check out the book of Nehemiah and also Daniel 1-6 (among other Bible stories) to dispel that biblical myth.  God’s Will is being carried out in a sin filled world which means there will be opposition.
          Another thing is we can quickly become mentally lazy by not thinking.  Thinking can be hard work at times as the obvious or the answer rarely comes popping instantly our of our brain.  Involving other people can help generate ideas.  Generating ideas from others and ourselves can lead to better ideas, which can lead to even greater ideas.  When faced with the food issue in Babylon, Daniel did not just complain and get angry, throwing a temper tantrum.  By coming up with an alternative solution, Daniel did not compromise his conscience and in this case, God greatly honored that situation by allowing Daniel and his friends to live. 
          There may very well be times when you choose to not violate your morals and your walk with Jesus, as there are no alternative solutions.  At those times, know you are secure in Him, trusting Him with what results.