2 Corinthians 8:16-24 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
16 Thanks be to God who put the same diligence for you into the heart of Titus. 17 For he accepted our urging and, being very diligent, went out to you by his own choice. 18 With him we have sent the brother who is praised throughout the churches for his gospel ministry. 19 And not only that, but he was also appointed by the churches to accompany us with this gift that is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself and to show our eagerness [to help]. 20 We are taking this precaution so no one can find fault with us concerning this large sum administered by us. 21 For we are making provision for what is honorable, not only before the Lord but also before men. 22 We have also sent with them our brother whom we have often tested, in many circumstances, and found diligent—and now even more diligent because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker serving you; as for our brothers, they are the messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 Therefore, before the churches, show them the proof of your love and of our boasting about you.
We have skipped the first half of chapter 8 because I’ll be preaching on that this coming Sunday, Jan 24th. In it Paul challenges the Corinthians to participate in giving.
The way a person lives out their faith is very important. Notice how Paul describes the life of the servant.
Primarily, he is famous for his service. Most likely this person is Luke or Barnabas, but it is not precisely known because Paul does not name him. Regardless, he is a person who has become famous for being a servant of the gospel. Not only is he famous, but he is trusted by the churches. He is trustworthy enough to be given the job of carrying the money.
He is also eager, ready. He is not standing on the sidelines waiting to get ready, but stands at the ready, eager to be a part of the work of God.
Paul describes his precautions with the money as steps to be shown above reproach. He does not want there to be any doubt about his handling of the money. He is doing the right thing.
The other brother is described as being zealous. We have seen the word zealous before as Paul describes a strong desire to exhibit the character of God in one’s life. It is earnestness, diligence.
Each of these characteristics of a person’s walk describe an outcome of the heart. But they are not coincidental attributes, rather, they are the deliberate consequence of purposeful living which sets the desire to be pleasing to God above the desire to please self. To exhibit these characteristics of life you must purpose in your heart to do these things. You must decide to be a servant. You must decide to be ready, eager to serve. You must decide to do things the hard way, but the way that leaves you above reproach. You must decide to finish projects, begin diligent and zealous to be like God. You must decide to desire the things of God over the things of man.