Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Sep 6 2013 - 2 Corinthians 8:16-24 – Accountability

One of the reasons that Paul was writing to the Corinthians was to encourage them to give money to those in need in Jerusalem. Paul is very careful as to whom he sends to collect this gift. He is concerned not only to handle the money with honesty and integrity but to do so in a way that will prevent anyone being able to say that he has misused these funds. He is sending Titus to them, someone they know and trust. But he is also sending with Titus two other trustworthy representatives of the churches, probably some who are already responsible for the care of gifts from other churches. Paul is concerned to ensure that there are proper safeguards surrounding the conveying of the gifts from Corinth to Jerusalem.

I work for a major Christian Charity and have developed software that enables us to track gifts from donors to the projects on which the money is used. This enables donors (and the Charity Commission) to be assured that the money is used for the purpose for which it was given. I sometimes wish that we could return to the simplicity of the situation described in 2 Kings 12 when King Joash organised repairs to the temple. We read that a chest with a hole bored in the top was placed in the temple and people put money into it for repairs. When there was sufficient money, it was given to “the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple … They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money because they acted with complete honesty” (2 Kings 12:11,15). It would be wonderful to be able to have no need for accounts and accountants, but it is important for churches and Christian charities to be transparent and accountable in the handling of money entrusted to their care not only to prevent misuse but also to demonstrate integrity before a suspicious world. As those who know that we are accountable to God for our actions, we are ready also to be accountable and transparent to others.

So Titus was being sent to Corinth to help raise funds for the poor in Jerusalem and to convey the gift safely to those who needed it. And he is eager to go, taking Paul’s letter and exhortations with him. Paul recognises that this is because God had given Titus a heart of love and concern for the Christians at Corinth, a heart like that of Paul himself. This was undoubtedly true, but surely it was also true that Titus had learned well from Paul. As a companion and helper of Paul, Titus had come to share the concerns and passions of his mentor – his love and concern for the churches. What are those close to us learning from us?

There is also surely another human factor. Titus had previously visited Corinth with Paul’s severe letter and yet had been received well. Paul speaks of how they had refreshed Titus’ spirit (7:13). Visiting them with a difficult letter had proved to be a blessing rather than a chore. No wonder Titus was keen to visit them again, to renew fellowship and to be refreshed by them again. Do we refresh the spirit of those who minister to us so that they find their God-given task a joy and not a burden?

Living God, my life is open to you and nothing can be hidden from your sight. Help me to be open and transparent in my dealings with others, never afraid to be called to account for how I have acted. And, as you have blessed me beyond measure in the Lord Jesus Christ, make me a blessing to those I deal with today, that they may be eager to meet me again rather than keen to avoid me.

Peter Misselbrook