Titus 2 teaches not just the presence of young and old, men and women in the local church, but that the presence of these groups and their faithfulness to obey these instructions in regard to one another (2:1-10) displays the gospel (2:11-15). You may see this in Scripture and agree, but what does this practically look like?
The best and most recent example for me was the presence of young and old, men and women at a Saturday work day we recently had at the church. A young single brother from Scotland, chose to work outside trimming shrubs with an older couple and long-time members in the church. The first thing to be concerned about with this set up is that the young single brother is from Scotland and has an accent that reflects it. The older couple…well, is not from Scotland.
The older woman has been working hard to plant trees and bushes at our church longer than this single brother had been alive. Additionally, this young Scotsman had quite a bit of experience trimming shrubs back home so there is another legitimate concern that he may not receive well the instruction from this older woman about how to do this…which she was certain to give.
After lunch as the young single brother was leaving, we went outside to look at the shrubs he had trimmed and he went on and on about how much he loved getting to work with this older couple and all he learn about the history of the church from them and what was going on when this tree was planted and that bush was put in the ground. This young single brother was powerfully ministered to by not just the warm fellowship of this older couple while outside working hard to serve in this way, but also was moved as he saw from the corner of his eye a 91 year old deacon who had just lost his wife, putting a railing up that had been broken.
The next morning at church, the older woman walks up to me with a big smile on her face and said, “Boy, I really like that young man! He is a good worker! I don’t understand much that he says, but I like him a lot.” Do you see the unifying power of the gospel in that? Two people of different age and gender, and even nationality, who could find all kinds of reasons to dislike the other, were unified because of their love for Christ and our church. With spiritual eyes they were able to look upon the other and see the value they are to one another.
As I watched the exchange of this young Scotsman and these older pillars from our church, I saw a powerful, living example of Titus 2 before my eyes and in that example saw the gospel—and found myself rejoicing at what Christ has truly done as He gave Himself for us to purify a people for His own possession zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:14).
How have you seen the gospel in a multi-generational church?