But thank God! He has given Titus the same enthusiasm for you that I have. Titus welcomed our request that he visit you again. In fact, he himself was very eager to go and see you. We are also sending another brother with Titus. All the churches praise him as a preacher of the Good News. He was appointed by the churches to accompany us as we take the offering to Jerusalem—a service that glorifies the Lord and shows our eagerness to help. We are traveling together to guard against any criticism for the way we are handling this generous gift. We are careful to be honourable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to see that we are honourable. We are also sending with them another of our brothers who has proven himself many times and has shown on many occasions how eager he is. He is now even more enthusiastic because of his great confidence in you.
If anyone asks about Titus, say that he is my partner who works with me to help you. And the brothers with him have been sent by the churches, and they bring honour to Christ.
So show them your love, and prove to all the churches that our boasting about you is justified.2 Corinthians 8:16-24
Guard against criticism. Paul was probably aware that anything to do with money was likely to attract criticism. If nothing else does, money will cause a stir every time. Paul said, “We are traveling together to guard against criticism for the way we are handling this generous gift. We are careful to be honourable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to see that we are honourable.” Mmm, there is much behind this comment. Firstly note that Paul is using “the royal we”. He says “we are traveling together”, yet he says, “We are also sending with them another of our brothers”. The inference is that Paul is not accompanying them, yet he says we are traveling together. He is as much a part of it as if he were with them. There is Titus and two brothers: “another brother with Titus” (vs 18) “and another of our brothers who has proven himself many times” (vs 22). Not only has Paul sent them but the churches have sent them as well. This is a big deal. There are so many layers to this. Paul seems to understand that it is important to be seen to do this right when it involves money. Not only do you have to do what is right but you have to be seen to do what is right. Transparency is needed in all aspects when handling money.
It’s clear that the make up of the group is representative. Not all from one side or group but representing all involved. Its important to have three people to count and process the money to make sure no funds are put into Paul’s Swiss bank account or put into a Cayman Island account. I said yesterday some Bible critics, and I am sure people in Paul’s day, as well as nowadays, have criticised Paul for manipulating the Corinthians to give. I hinted yesterday that I don’t think he was manipulating. He was just simply sharing his heart with them and jealously guarding their reputation too. It is clear from what he said that he truly loved them. He didn’t want to harm them or take advantage of them. He just wanted them to fulfil their promise so they would not disappoint others much less embarrass themselves. Besides he provided enough comment contrary to manipulation to guard against that. They were not being forced to give, it was a matter of free will. They were the ones who had to make the decision. But once having made it they needed to follow through with action.
As leaders we have to ensure everything is open and above board. We also have to guard against manipulation or even perceived manipulation. In fact we should ensure with the words we use that all bases are covering all the time. Even if makes for long winded preaching. Maybe that is the reason why Paul is going on and on about money. He is dotting his “i’s” and crossing his “t’s”.
Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.Frank C Clark
He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help.Abraham Lincoln
Criticism is something we can avoid by doing nothing, saying nothing, and being nothing.Aristotle