Do you have an email signature? Different people have different information in their email signatures. For me, I usually had my full name, title, and email address, along with a tag-line quote (which for the past 5 years or so has been “Make a Joyful Noise!” from Psalm 98).
I really liked using email signatures, especially when I had a title to include! From 2014 to 2017, it had been “Associate Pastor” of course, which is the title I held at NorthLife Fellowship Baptist Church. While I was working at Morningstar Christian Fellowship, it was typically “Pastoral Intern”. Anyway, I liked using signatures because to me, it established authority for me. As in… Hey! Pay attention to this email. Because this is my title.
Letters written in the Roman Empire in the First Century also had “signatures” on them, although unlike signatures in our modern correspondences, they were at the beginning of letters, rather than the end. Nevertheless, they likewise established the identity of the letter’s sender, and, if needed, the authority that the sender has. This is especially important in the letters that were included in the New Testament as their authors established their authority to teach and exhort.
Paul’s letter to Titus was no different of course. But what’s surprising is the way that Paul chose to establish his authority in this particular instance. He introduces himself in two ways: the second of which makes sense, “an apostle of Jesus Christ”. But it’s really interesting how he first introduced himself: “Paul, a servant of God“. What an interesting way to establish your authority! It’s certainly different from my feeling of importance with the titles that I have held of the years. To Paul, what was most important was being a servant of God. His authority derives from his servitude.
I pray that the Lord help me to take on this attitude from now on. Not to revel in the feeling of importance, but to derive my identity and authority from the fact that I am but a mere vessel for God to do his work and accomplish his will.
This Titus series is part of a challenge that my cousin, Luis, and I are doing together. We are trying to blog every week for the next year. To start off the challenge, I’ve chosen to write my entries on Paul’s Epistle to Titus because I am currently doing my main study in it. I will probably spend 10-12 weeks on this series.