Holy One of God, you are the way to God, the truth about God, and the life in God. I praise your name.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 8:16 – 9:5
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.
9 There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. 2 For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. 3 But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4 For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.’1
We could gain the impression that Paul traveled alone, but this was rarely so.2 In addition to Timothy,3 we have met Titus and now we have reference to two unnamed but acclaimed ‘brothers’ (vs 18,22) whom Paul is sending on ahead with Titus to manage the collection for the saints in Jerusalem. The apostolic mission is a collective effort, carried through by gifted, enthusiastic (v 17), and zealous (v 22) servants of God. There are still such ‘representatives of the churches’ (v 23) today, for whom we give thanks. We always need more. It is clear that Paul is deflecting any possible suspicion about how the fund will be used (v 20). Quite right. If it seems risky to carry a large sum of money all the way to Jerusalem, as it must have been, we do have precedent. Every year, Jews of the dispersion were charged a temple tax that had to be delivered in like manner. Paul’s fund, however, is a gift, not a tax.
Financial propriety is a Christian discipline. Paul terms it ‘to do what is right’ in God’s eyes as well as those of other people (v 21). The principle could be extended to other legitimate areas of accountability, not only to the community but to the governing authorities. We return to the idea of transparency. The overall concern is to maintain the integrity of the churches and so to bring honor to Christ.
The topic of money is often a prickly one to deal with. These chapters show us some principles to guide us in our personal stewardship and pose a challenge. The more we give, the more we may make others rich. The more we have, the more opportunity we have to do good. ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’4
It is said that John Wesley taught, ‘Earn all you can, give all you can, save all you can.’ What do you make of this principle?
Father, I have been blessed by the giving of others. May my giving bring blessing and hope to others.
Last Updated on June 8, 2023 by kingstar