Appearances Matter (2 Cor 8:16-23)

Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 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.” (2 Corinthians 8:20–22, KJV)

I once heard the testimony of a man who was interviewing for a high-profile job with a major corporation. His interview was going quite well. Everyone with whom he interviewed had a positive opinion of the man. It seemed that the job was in the bag. Things were proceeding well and it was lunchtime. His potential boss invited him to lunch in the office cafeteria. When thy went through the line, they took their food and went to the register to pay. As they were going, the man being interviewed took his thumb and tucked a five-cent piece of butter under the edge of the plate to hide it.

The potential boss who was conducting the interview saw what the man had done in hiding the piece of butter. For this reason alone, the man was not hired. The interviewer felt that if the man could not be trusted with something worth only five-cents, he could not be trusted at all. It was an issue of integrity. One of the most important traits that people must display in life is integrity. A person who lacks this virtue cannot be trusted in any area, especially that of managing money.

Paul understood the sensitive nature of handling large sums of money, especially for those making the contributions. He wanted no accusations of impropriety brought against anyone as the money was transported to Jerusalem. To ensure that there would be no accusation brought against them, Paul put a team together to gather and transport the collection. This team included Titus. It also included a believer who was praise worthy among all the churches and appointed by them for the task (v18-19). Paul also mentioned sending someone called “our brother,” a believer who was tested and approved to be honorable in many matters. He wanted the Corinthian church to understand that there would be exceptional accountability for the funds they contributed and that they would get to the saints in Jerusalem for the intended purpose.

Paul went to great lengths to ensure that there could be no accusation brought against anyone in handling the collection. He wanted them to be seen with integrity “not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” How things look are important.

This type of accountability is vital in churches and organizations today. Money provides a great temptation to those who are weak. Paul established three key principles in maintaining a good reputation. First, he made sure that there was more than one person handling the money. Second, he chose proven people. Third, he chose a person approved by those who had contributed. Remember accountability in handling money. Appearances are important.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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