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. 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. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ. 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. (2 Corinthians 8:16-24 NIV)
Paul is sending three men to Corinth to collect the offering which he will carry to Jerusalem to assist the church in meeting the needs brought on by the famine. One of the men is named and two are not. The names of the two men are not important. What is important is their character and reputation. Paul is hoping to collect a sizeable amount of money to carry to Jerusalem. There are no electronic records or wire transfers. Paul is doing his best to address a concern that we still have today; Will the gift that I give make it to the destination it was intended for?
There are two primary ways that the funds could be diverted from their intended use. The first would be theft by robbers. This was a very real threat in Paul’s day and the way he reduces this risk is to travel with a group and not alone. The second would be that funds would be diverted either to Paul’s personal needs or other areas of ministry different from the original need expressed. Apparently, Paul’s reputation was being questioned in Corinth, so he puts men in place who will reassure the Corinthians that their gift will be protected.
The first man is a “brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel.” It is highly likely that this man’s reputation proceeded him to Corinth. He was well known as someone who had given his life to assisting the churches in their efforts to spread the gospel. The second man was a “brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous.” The first man might have been quiet and unassuming. He had a reputation for service but was not someone who would draw attention to himself. The second man is focused and committed. He will do all he can to ensure that the mission is carried out. The mission will be carried out and the money will reach its destination in Jerusalem.
Unfortunately, many churches and Christian organizations have been unwilling to learn from Paul’s example. I am certain that Paul knew he and Titus could be trusted. Regardless, he put in place a process to ensure that no one could accuse him of wrongdoing. There is a cost to providing this kind of protection. More people must be involved and even with multiple people the ones chosen must be of high character. In my experience the cost is always worth it, especially at this time when the character of the church is constantly being called into question.