You’ve got to love Gospel workers. Literally. Titus was set apart to serve the Gospel, and commissioned by the churches to take the gifts from the Gentile churches for the Jewish-background believers in Jerusalem, so Paul expected them to give him a warm welcome (8.16-24). In fact, Paul is hinting that the measure that they welcome Titus and his colleague with, and pass on their gift to them, is the proof of whether they have a Gospel faith (vv.3-4).
Of course, he’s right. What we do with our money to serve people we’ve never met, and how we treat Gospel servants we may never meet again, speaks volumes about our discipleship. Let’s look at our own lives: do we support missionaries, pray for and encourage them, when their ministries are conducted far away amongst other people? And will we part with our money sacrificially and cheerfully, to be a blessing to work whose fruit we will never ourselves see? Grace which abounds to us must work its way into grace which abounds to others. That’s the way of the Gospel.
So be generous. Invest your energies, money, love and ambition into seeing Gospel growth. The promise is that you’ll reap generously (v.6). Skimp on each of these, and the returns will be small. We should have a holy impatience with shoestring ministries, run by underpaid (and thereby exploited) workers, without adequate resources and sorely lacking the encouragement and input of God’s servants. No, give yourself to the Lord’s work, and the more you give, the more you discover that the God you give to is so abundant in His grace to meet your every need (vv.8-11). So what are we waiting for?
Christian service is always the opening of the heart to God (v.12), and it is always the opening of the heart to those in needs (v.13). Such ministry is also for the flourishing of relationships between believers (v.14). What a gift, then, it is to give to others; a gift, of course, which follows the most special one of all, Jesus Himself (v.15).
A Prayer to Pray
Father, thankyou for the indescribable gift of Your Son. Thankyou, too, for the massive privilege of being able to serve Him. I confess, so often I love the idea of service rather than the hard realities of costly choices and sacrifices of myself. Fix my heart on Your gift of love to me, teach me all that I have in Your Son, and then open my heart to You and to those who need Your abundant grace. Amen.