INTEGRITY IN THE SIGHT OF MEN

But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord. With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel. And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will. We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.  ~ 2 Corinthians 8:16-21 (ESV)

In 2 Corinthians (chapters 8 and 9) the apostle Paul was collecting donations for Christians who were in need. Paul was not raising personal financial support for his own ministry. In fact, Paul was so careful with regards to any donations that he refused to burden the Corinthians with his own needs. Paul chose to pay his own way so that the gospel would not be hindered. Consider the following from 1 Corinthians, chapter 9:

If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?  If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:11-18 (ESV)

Though Paul had the right to receive support, he chose not to use that right so that the gospel would not be hindered. Paul had the same integrity with regards to the donations which were being collected for the poor Christians in 2 Corinthians 8. Paul desired to be honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.

Paul appointed honorable men over this task (Titus and another brother of reputation) so that no accusation could be levied. Paul understood that the effectiveness of the gospel through his ministry was only as good as his name – A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. ~ Proverbs 22:1

It is to be regretted that some ministers have forfeited the value of a good by their unscrupulous ways, and in doing so, they bring not only shame on themselves, but a reproach on the name of Christ. As Christians, we have a responsibility to adorn the name of Christ and his doctrine in the sight of men.

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:1-2 (ESV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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