8:16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord. 18 And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches, 19 and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, 20 avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us— 21 providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
22 And we have sent with them our brother whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we have in you. 23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 Therefore show to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.
I often read Paul's writings with a certain envy. He is bold. A boldness I do not possess, at least not yet. Titus, who has pastored them before is returning to Corinth. He has volunteered to do so. Paul says Titus has a heart for them that is equal to Paul's care for them. Along with Titus is an unnamed person who has been given the responsibility of overseeing the money given by the churches in Macedonia that is destined to provide relief in Judea.
So Paul is challenging them to give, something they promised to do a year earlier but haven't followed through on, and now he is sending Titus and the money man to collect. He ends section with verse 24 - "Therefore show to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf."
He is basically saying "It's time to put your money where your mouth is. We have boasted about you so don't make us liars."
That's bold. Very bold. I'm not a pusher. I never have been. I have been to seminars where speakers talked about the importance of making appeals and some of their tactics seemed very pushy to me, almost manipulative. There is no doubt in my mind that manipulation to get someone to do something they don't want to do is wrong. However this is a different case. Paul is not pushing them to do something they don't want to do. He is pushing them to do something they already committed to do. This was their promise, not his.
It has me thinking about the implications for mutual accountability and pushing each other to be what we desire to be. This is the kind of boldness I pray for. I never want to push anyone into something they don't want to do, but I do want to help people realize the personal goals and commitments they have set themselves and have others do the same for me.
"Those I love I rebuke and correct." - God
See how practical God's word is. :)