Focal Passage: Titus 2:1-15
John Wooden was nicknamed the “Wizard of Westood” because of his almost magical accomplishments as head basketball coach of UCLA. Over a 12-year period his teams won 10 NCAA championships, and during one three-year stretch, won 88 consecutive games. He coached dozens of future NBA stars and was national coach of the year six times. If there is anyone who has ever lived in the last century who truly understood excellence, it was John R. Wooden. Some may not know, however, about Wooden’s Christian faith. Here is one of his more famous quotes: “Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.”
Wooden never forgot his humble origins in Indiana. He was the ultimate husband, family man and Christian, once saying that “when he died, he hoped there was enough evidence of his faith to convict him.”
He was not a “flash in the pan.” When he arrived at UCLA, he inherited a team with a losing record, and it would be 15 years before he would hoist a NCAA championship banner. In this great text, Paul is exhorting Titus and the congregation to excel by setting an example of integrity, dignity, sensibility and good works. It is a text for families. Older men, younger men, older women and younger women are all given instruction for godly living; the standard is high because God expects and demands nothing less.
Perhaps the focal verse should be verse 8. As a leader, Titus’ message was to be sound, solid, beyond reproach. The message, however, extended far beyond the words that Titus would teach or preach. The message was also in the content of his character. People can always criticize our words, even scripture itself, but they can’t honestly demean a life lived the way God intended. Truth be told, that is exactly what the world is looking for.