When studying the NT epistles, we sometimes skim or skip entirely the personal greetings that begin or end the letter. But in doing so, we overlook some powerful lessons. The end of Paul’s letter to Titus contains one such exhortation.
After identifying two ways in which Titus could be of service to the work of the Lord (meeting Paul in Nicopolis, assisting Zenas and Apollos in their travels) Paul makes this sweeping statement about all Christians (including us): “Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful” (v. 14).
My question to you now: what “pressing need” (“urgent need”) is there among our congregation that we must meet?
Urgent needs are not always obvious; they don’t always scream at us or wave a hand in our face. Sometimes they require a little more investigation, but it is our job as the Lord’s family to know one another enough to bear one another’s burdens. There might be a brother who is waging a spiritual battle unnoticed by us; there may be a sister who is struggling physically while we go on living our comfortable lives. All the while, there may be an urgent cry for our help—but we haven’t stopped to ask.
Sometimes urgent needs go unmet because we assume others will do it. Other times, people slip through the cracks because we are not trying to build relationships with them to begin with. Perhaps we’re simply too busy or shy to concern ourselves with the lives of others. Can we obey God’s mandate this way?
We may not always be able to remove the problem, fight the battle for someone, or alleviate the pain someone is experiencing. But we can ask God to—prayer is one way we might meet a pressing need. An edifying word graciously spoken in the moment never hurts either (Eph. 4:29).
Pressing needs always exist. Just because we’re not aware of them doesn’t mean they’re not there. Someone is always needing encouragement; someone is always needing teaching; someone is always needing saving. We need only to open our eyes and hearts to see where we need to get busy.
When we neglect pressing needs, it doesn’t just negatively affect those in need—it renders us unfruitful. And we know what Jesus said about not bearing fruit (John 15:5). Alternatively, if we do our best to meet those needs we become pure vessels fit or the Master’s use, prepared for every good work (2 Tim. 2:21). Individually, we cannot do everything (and we cannot use this as an excuse for laziness); but that’s why God created the church with various functions and abilities, so that working together, we can be full of fruit for the Lord’s glory.
So, what “pressing need” is there that YOU can meet today?