Summary: Act of proving that we love God
Explanation Of Christian Giving
We could call this message, "Proof of Love", because that's what our giving is. It is one of many proofs that we love God. You can talk about loving God, but He is looking to see proof, in the way we live, in our priorities of life, in our habits, both good and bad ones. If you are going to continue to throw Him in the back seat, and give Him the leftovers of your life, don't say you love Him...turn your life around and act like it. If you are going to continue to drink alcohol just tell the truth about it and admit that you don't really love God...you love the idea of Him, and you love to 'claim' Him and you feel good about yourself when you talk the talk...but make no mistake about it-God will know you are serious when you show Him proof of your love.
Getting things right in your life is a great proof of love, and then comes a test: Is it deep enough in your heart to reach your wallet? Are you here for what you can give or what you can get?
But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you [2Cor. 8:16].
"Thanks" is the same Greek word charis, which has been translated "grace." Although "thanks" is a good translation, it would be equally correct to translate it "grace be to God."
Paul is saying that he sent Titus to get their offering, but it was already a grace in his heart. Titus wanted as much as Paul did to take up an offering for the poor saints in Jerusalem.
For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind [2Cor. 8:17-19].
You see, Titus and his companion had this grace in their hearts. The giving was to be for the glory of God. Whatever we give should be for the glory of God. They weren't in it for the money, but for the ministry. However, they understood that ministry costs money.
Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us [2Cor. 8:20].
Paul is saying, "We are going to be honest in the use of the money we collect from you and in the way we handle it." This was back when a man's word was his bond, not like today when we lie constantly, make and break promises at the drop of a hat.
Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men [2Cor. 8:21].
This is one of the more sensitive areas in the Lord's work. Many Christian organizations and churches major in heavy promotion to encourage giving to a certain work. No effort -- or at best, little effort -- is made to tell how the money is used. There should be the presentation of tangible evidence that the money is used to give out the Word of God and that there are results that can be documented -- not just isolated cases. There should be confidence in the organization to which we give, that it is honest and is operated on the highest level of integrity. We should not support an organization about which we have doubts. We must remember that this is a big, bad world and that there are religious racketeers in it. We need to beware.
Even Paul, this great apostle, says, "Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men." It should be obvious that the money is being used for the purpose for which it is given.
And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you. Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellow-helper concerning you: or our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ [2Cor. 8:22-23].
They can trust Titus. He will make a good report. They can trust Paul who will also report to them. The money will not be delivered by just one person. Redundancy is important. That's why we have multiple check signers and loads of accountability built into everything we do here financially. This is God's money and we are to be good stewards of it, not wasteful and irresponsible.