Words of Faith 11-15-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
2 Corinthians 8
 I thank God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you.  For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative.  And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel.  What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help.  We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift.  For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.
When I was a child growing up in church I always remember a faithful cadre of men called ushers. Among their several duties was passing the collection plates and then bringing the tithes and offerings to the altar. Later, as an acolyte, I remember observing that after the service was concluded two of these men came and zipped the collection into bags and then carried it safely to the church office. There was something impressive about the great care these men took when handling God's money.
In every church there are those trusted souls who collect and carry the offerings. Now I know that the line of accountable people is much longer-- counters, depositors, treasurers and check writers-- who handle God's money. They are all part of a tradition that started with Titus and an unnamed believer who were entrusted with the care of the offering.
What were these first "ushers" like? Paul says that Titus had the same heart as the pastor, Paul. He had an enthusiasm for the work and welcomed the opportunity to be a part of this financial appeal and the collection. In fact, he had asked to make the journey.
Along with Titus there was another sent along. Ushers and counters always work two by two. He was a man respected by all the churches and trusted for the task at hand. These men had the clear knowledge that they were administering the gifts of the people to honor the Lord Himself.
Great care was taken in this entire process so as to avoid any criticism. Even the appearance of mishandling of God's resources was to be avoided so this team took great pains to do things in the right way both in the eyes of the Lord and in the eyes of men.
Wow. This passage could be an Operating Procedure for handling the finances of the church! 1) Those handling money must have a heart for the ministry. 2) Must be enthusiastic about the call to serve. 3) Must always work in twos. 4) Must be highly respected people. 5) Must do everything above reproach. 6) Must know that the Lord is watching.
Maybe Titus was the very first Church Treasurer!
But there is one more link in the chain of custody that fits into this same picture. We see these faithful honest brothers ready to receive the offering but the very first link in the chain was that of the person giving the offering. It is important to know that every step can be trusted from that point on, but it is also important that the first link will be faithful as well.
When God supplies "plenty" to one location so that it can be used to meet a need in another location, the first step of faithfulness is at the point of the giver. Paul will talk more about that later. He will talk about cheerful giving and faithful giving and the joy of giving. But an important question for us is this-- Am I faithful at that very first step? Am I faithful to prayerfully return to God a portion of the plenty he has provided so that it can get to a missionary, a mercy target or a ministry that God is trying supply?
Jesus said that if we are faithful with a few things He will put us in charge of many things (Matthew 25:23). Every step of the chain is important when God inspires a collection of His resources. Every step.
Father God, make me a faithful link in Your plan. Make me strong and sturdy. Build the fruit of faithfulness in me. In Jesus' Name.