BEING AND DOING
Lord, make me a model of fiduciary integrity.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 8:16–24
Titus Sent to Receive the Collection
16 Thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. 17 For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative. 18 And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. 19 What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. 20 We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.
22 In addition, we are sending with them our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous, and now even more so because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ. 24 Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.
New International Version (NIV)
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“To God be the glory, great things he has done” (Fanny Jane Crosby, 1820–1915). Give thanks to God for who he is and for all he has done for us in Jesus.
Clearly, Paul expects our pattern of giving to be carefully considered rather than poorly thought through. The collection for Jerusalem is to be as prudently administered as it is carefully planned. Here is a challenge for us: our Christian giving is too often impulsive rather than regular and thoughtful. It is fine to give on the spur of the moment sometimes, but here the Bible showcases for us a model of weekly, systematic giving to Gospel work (1 Cor. 16:2). How do our practices compare?
The snapshots we have of Paul’s companions give us pictures of what it means to be partners in the Gospel. We see “enthusiasm,” a readiness to take “initiative” (17) and godly zeal (22). Clearly, these are men of financial integrity, since they will be entrusted with a substantial sum. Here are “representatives” who are truly an “honor to Christ” (23). Sometimes people say, “It’s not what you do but who you are that counts,” but this is false. Of course, who we are is vital—the apostle is confident of the integrity and love of these men—but they are fellow workers: who they are is shown by what they do. They are ready to step out in faith and embark on a long and dangerous journey with many potential pitfalls in order to bring the collection safely to Jerusalem. They are men of action.
We are called to grow in knowledge and love of our Lord so that we become all that he wants us to be, but we have failed to appreciate the practical thrust of the Scriptures if this does not impel us onward and outward in acts of service. Character and conduct alike are important for the people of God.
Are we growing in character, as God’s Word dwells in us and his Spirit fills us daily (Col. 3:16; Eph 5:18)? Is this growth seen in acts of service, wherever God sends us?
Lord, give us godly leadership in our churches, leaders who can be trusted implicitly with considerable sums of money so as to embody true Christian leadership.