2 Corinthians 8:16-24

But thanks be to God who put in the heart of Titus the same eagerness for you that I myself have. For he not only accepted our appeal, but since he is more eager than ever, 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 proclaiming the good news; and not only that, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us while we are administering this generous undertaking for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our goodwill.

We intend that no one should blame us about this generous gift that we are administering, for we intend to do what is right not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of others. And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found eager in many matters, but who is now more eager than ever because of his great confidence in you.

As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker in your service; as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. Therefore openly before the churches, show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you. 2 Corinthians 8:16-24

Every once in awhile I stumble into a great line that I didn’t see coming. I hear something that I will never forget. It happened to me yesterday.

I was talking to a person that I deeply respect when he told me a story about something an old veteran in politics told him. In effect, he shared one of those life defining moments in his own life with me, and thus continued the cycle through me. Offering encouragement to a young man who was seeking to serve in a public position, the older man said, “Be good stewards with the peoples’ money.”

It was a line that he would never forget and now has become a line I won’t forget either.

People often speak of the miraculous growth of the Christian movement. They take the hyperbole of the book of Acts literally. They just accept that Peter could convince thousands of people at a time to walk away from the life they had known to a new life in Jesus. But that isn’t how Paul tells the story.

For Paul, the Christian movement grows one person at a time. Paul never portrays himself as Spiritual Superman, slaying the powers of evil with his own individual gifts as an evangelist. Read his letters. Christianity, from day one, was a team sport. It was one person exemplifying a quality of life that delivered belonging, healing, and meaningfulness. And in each letter, like in these closing verses of 2 Corinthians 8, he thanks and lifts up his teammates.

And as he does, Paul reassures the Corinthians – even as he is inviting them to be generous with their financial resources – that they will be good stewards of the peoples’ money. That is how the Christian faith grows and gains influence in transforming the world into a common good.

Let us pray: Thank you, Lord, for the people, the places, the little coincidences of life, that have gifted us with faith and encouraged us to keep the faith. Help us be good stewards with your gifts even as we pray that those in authority likewise be good stewards of the peoples’ money. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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