The book of Titus presents the inseparable link between faith and practice in a Christ-follower’s life. One’s belief in the gospel will and should inform their daily behavior. As Paul writes to Titus, he calls for older men and women in the church to set an example of godliness for the younger generations to follow. In Titus chapter 2, Paul instructs women to “train the young women” and instructs men to “urge the younger men.” Paul uses language that describes a careful and intentional modeling of Christ-likeness that is contagious to others in the faith.
In essence, Paul is inviting Christian men and women into a life of discipleship.
When I reflect upon God’s grace in my life, I immediately think of the older men who have continually sacrificed themselves in modeling godliness for me. Riley Green, a member and former elder of our church family, is one of these men. I met Riley and his wife Yvonne during the first semester of my freshmen year at Samford University. Since then, I have had the privilege of gathering in their home every Sunday night with my small group. Beyond these weekly occurrences, Riley afforded me the opportunity to work under him this past summer at Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes. Through countless nights in his home and days with him at work, Riley has very willfully welcomed me into his life. I have witnessed Riley wholeheartedly seek God through the Word and prayer in seasons of joy and in seasons of trial. I have heard him say “no” to many great opportunities, so that he might say “yes” to better loving and serving his wife and children. I have seen him sacrifice comfort and convenience in driving several hours simply to encourage a struggling employee at his workplace. Needless to say, I have had the chance to watch Riley’s life closely and have grown to love God more through His presence in Riley’s life.
It is clear in Riley’s lifestyle that he has been transformed by the gospel. It is also evident that gospel-transformation in one believer encourages and spurs on godliness in others.
As a college student who has been greatly influenced and encouraged by the faithfulness of older men, I encourage you, church, to consider doing the same. No matter which stage of life you are in, a student or a retiree, there is someone who needs the Christian life modeled for them. Therefore, invite one another into your lives; it is a call and investment that is worth the sacrifice.
Chad Cavanaugh is a junior at Samford majoring in accounting. Chad serves as our college ministry intern and has been attending The Church at Brook Hills since 2013.