Series on II Corinthians, II The Directions of Paul for Giving, B Management, Text: 8:16-24.Title:Faithful Management

Introduction

When Jesus talks about his second coming in Luke 12 he does it in terms of stewardship.  His disciples will be watching for his return if they are good stewards. A good steward is a faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time. If the steward says my master is taking a long time to return and beats the servants and wastes the money on himself in riotous living,  when the master comes he casts him out. But there is more to stewardship than money. We must manage our time and our talent as well as our treasure and we must do it in the Church as well as in our families. Now in this text for today Paul is talking about management. He is sending a committee to collect money but the principles are applicable to a wide range of experience. We can sum up what he says here in a sentence. The Apostle sends earnest emissaries who are esteemed and empowered.

I EARNEST

The first thing about good managing is that you have to be earnest-sincere-committed. Concerning Titus, Paul writes in verses 16 and 17, 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. In his letter to Titus Paul wrote, For an overseer must be blameless as a steward of God, not self-willed, not greedy for money, just, holy, and self-controlled. The heart of Titus is in the same place as Paul’s. Concerning the second member of the committee, traditionally believed to be Luke because of verse 18, And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. Literally it says his praise is "in" the Gospel. He is there to help. The third committee member is mentioned in verse 22, In addition, we are sending with them our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous, and now even more so because of his great confidence in you. It is probably Tychicus who later accompanied Paul to Rome with offerings, and he is  commended for his diligence and great confidence in the Corinthian believers. In sum, if your heart is not in the work then you can forget good management. It works in business as well as in the Church, the family and the nation. When interviewed for a management position the boss wants to know where your priorities are. Where is your heart, is the first important question. Christ died for your sins, and you are not your own for you are bought with a price.

II Emissaries

But these are earnest emissaries. There are three of them. Paul does not send one man because as he says in verses 20 and 21 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. Here is the accountability needed in government, business, the church and the family. Presbyterians believe in this. Every church is governed by several elders. The pastors and people are accountable to them. The Session is accountable to the Presbytery. The Presbytery is accountable to the General Assembly and the General Assembly is accountable to God and His Word. This is voluntary. How many people are there who discovered suddenly in their lives that they no longer had to answer to anyone and they don't know where all the money went. The way to gain self-discipline is to be accountable to somebody. That's what our children need to learn from us. Ultimately of course we are all accountable to God. And considering how we fail, its good we have a Savior who died for our sins. Let us not despise his generosity. Principle 1 is, where is your heart, and principle 2 is accountability.

III Esteemed

Notice that these men had a reputation. It’s one thing to make yourself of no reputation for Jesus sake. Sometimes that happens because you make the right decisions. It’s another thing to have a bad reputation because you are undisciplined. The contingent includes, Titus, verse 23, Paul’s partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ: Luke, verse 18, the brother who is praised by all the churches and Tychicus, verse 22 our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous. The fastest way to impoverish yourself is to have someone manage the resources that is irresponsible. Reputations are earned. These messengers were esteemed because they had built confidence. Respect is built step by step, and it is good in training our youth or anyone else that is undisciplined, to gradually increase their responsibility. The Apostle says in I Timothy 3 that elders should not be novices and Deacons should first be tested. Paul tells the Corinthians to prove their love  in verse 24, Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it. Principle 3 is training, principle 2 was accountability, and the first principle was heart. The principles are Heart, accountability and training.

IV Empowered

Paul chose Titus to whom he had writes in Titus 2:7,8 that he should, In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness  and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. And the reason Paul gives in Titus 2:11-14 is, For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. The Churches had chosen one of Titus companions according to verse 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. These men were chosen because they were trusted. This is the final principle of good management in our text. Choose people whom you trust, and then trust them. Who would have chosen Peter, and the other apostles to change the world? Jesus did, because he knew the grace of God. He understood the power and the glory of grace. To be a good manager you have to believe in progress. You have to believe that people can be changed. You have to trust in more than yourself and your control.

Conclusion:

And so I leave you with these four principles: Dedication, accountability, training and trust. Where do you fit in? Are you part of this process? Jesus said, Whoever desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?