by J. Randal Matheny, editor
One of the worst adjectives that can be applied to a Christian is “unfruitful.”
Whether it be the mind engaged in unproductive activities — even in church! — (1 Corinthians 14:14), or the heart choked by worldly cares and the seductiveness of wealth (Matthew 13:22), to produce nothing of spiritual worth chills my soul.
Paul tells Titus what “our people” (what a charming phrase!) can do to avoid fruitlessness.
“Make every effort to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; make sure they have what they need. Here is another way that our people can learn to engage in good works to meet pressing needs and so not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:13-14 NET).
To help someone on their way means “to provide funds or means of travel for someone.”/1 It includes hospitality and tickets. Hospitality in the New Testament was a missions activity.
Paul urged Titus to spare no effort to help Zenas and Apollos. This was priority! They were engaged in the Lord’s business and deserved full attention by God’s people.
This is why John would write a whole letter (3 John) to make sure traveling preachers got the support they needed. And why the apostle names Diotrephes as a troublemaker.
Refusing to help God’s evangelists is a high crime. Forbidding others from doing so is the height of insolence.
The needs are pressing, says Paul to Titus. Urgency demands action.
Perhaps Zenas and Apollos carried Paul’s letter to Titus and were heading for a new phase of their journey. Whatever their task, it was God’s work and deserved the churches’ support. The churches Titus worked with should take note of these men.
Part of being fruitful in God’s kingdom is supporting the pressing needs of his messengers.
How wonderful to know how to avoid being unfruitful!
1/ J.W. Roberts, Letters to Titus, Philemon and the Epistle of James (Sweet, 1962) 41.
Paul tells one way to keep from being unfruitful in Titus 3:13-14.