16 Thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. 17 For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative. 18 And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. 19 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. 20 We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man. 2 Corinthians 8:16-21
Paul understood the battle Christians face regarding money. The financial and moral scandals in the Church in the 1990s should have taught us about the need to be above board, yes in front of God, but also in front of many. We answer to God, but we will feel the wrath of man when we manipulate the system and game the system.
A recent case in point is the Kenneth Copeland Ministries. Copeland is a leader in the “Name it and Claim it” movement, but unfortunately he does it under the auspices of Christianity. His ministry just bought a Gulfstream V jet for about $6 million, plus they’re begging for $2.5 million worth of upgrades and $17 million for a hangar. This looks absolutely terrible as a supposed Christ-follower. Unfortunately he is the face of Christianity for many non-believers whether we like it or not. Copeland is well within his bounds legally, but does untold harm in the spiritual and ethical world.
People are watching us. They are looking for authenticity and truth. They will tolerate honest failure but not outright deception. Fortunately, though, Copeland and his ilk are not the mainstream.
Most of the churches we attend and ministries we give to are polar opposites of that ministry. These ministries go out of their way to please God and open their books to men if they need to see them.
Most of the churches we support would find it appalling that certain ministries mishandle funds and manipulate gift givers in such a way. Thank the Lord for honest ministries, the kind that Paul praised in this passage.