By Elizabeth Prata
In Titus 2:3-5, we read about the Lord’s exhortation for different believers in various demographics. Older men, older women, younger men, younger women, and slaves (today: employees). We can interpret that as a gift of a ministry to the older woman. It’s familiar. Let me post it:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
But what if you’re not older yet? What do you do? You train for it. Younger women, if God grants a long life, you’ll be older someday, too. Get ready to be the older teaching the younger.
Christianity takes the long view. The Lord teaches us patience. One way that is reflected is in Bible teacher Martha Peace’s attitude toward teaching the younger. She read those Titus verses when she was a young woman. But did she gloss over it, thinking, “No, that’s not for me, I’m young yet”? No. Read how she approached the verse about older women when she was younger:
When I was a new Christian I read the Bible for the first time in my life and I knew I wanted to do something for the Lord but I didn’t know what it would be. So I kept reading and kept reading and I got to the book of Titus. I was young. I was 33 years old when this happened and I got to chapter two where it talks about the older women and the godly character that they’re supposed to have by God’s grace and then the seven mandates that they are to teach the younger women. I thought about that. I thought, “There’s my ministry.” I knew I wasn’t the older woman category but I figured it would take that many years for the Lord to help me become that kind of woman.”
You look ahead to the time when you WILL be in that demographic, and you put it in the forefront of your mind, put it into action, and train for it. Younger men should do this as well, practice for when they will be leading families. Let me show you some examples I’ve recently learned about in my own church. May this be an encouragement to you.
Some of the older men regularly get together to study the Bible at one man’s home. They remain teachable even though they have long studied the Word. They know they haven’t ‘arrived,’ and there’s more to learn.
One young man who is a fervent recent convert was having a hard time bringing up the Gospel at work. When he moved conversations in that direction, the reactions were bad. He started to get a fear of man complex. He contacted an older brother and asked to consult and pray with him. They met, they did, and he now reports that God has made pathways clear to have Godly conversations at work and they are going well.
But best of all was this that I learned,
A group of younger men, unmarried or recently married, looked ahead to the day when they will be leading their family. Being younger they knew the Titus verses and the other verses that say their role as Head of Household will be to minister to the wife and children, teaching them God’s statutes. In preparation for this, the men meet weekly at a coffee shop. They are going through a book of the Bible together and they select on a rotating basis a man to lead it. This is deliberately for practice for when they are leading their families.
Ladies, if you’re younger and reading this, think about what you can do actively prepare for the day when you cross that bridge from “younger” to “older”. Here’s an anecdote. I remember mine, vividly. I wasn’t saved yet, but…
I had a young looking face and a young attitude so I seemed younger than I was. When I was 30 I traveled to Italy for the first time. “Signorina!” I was called. This corresponds to “Miss.” As in, entering a restaurant or approaching a hotel desk, “Buon giorno, Signorina!” I traveled to Italy about every 18 months throughout my 30s. As I approached 40, my last trip, it was ‘Buon giorno Signora!” This corresponds to Mrs. or Madam. What happened to ‘Miss’?! Aw, I’m not young any more! I was unhappy for a long time about crossing over that line.
One day you won’t be ‘Miss’ but Mrs. You will have stepped into the older woman category before you know it. Will you be ready to train the younger women coming up under you? Start preparing now.