Integrity with church finances!
Scripture reading for September 6th: 2nd Corinthians 8:16-24
Paul had asked the Corinthians to prepare an offering for the needy church in Jerusalem. They were asked to do this willingly and Paul promised them that this offering would be handled with great care and integrity. He was sending a small team of respected ministers led by Titus.
“And we are sending along with him (Titus), the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the Gospel. 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. 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.” (2nd Corinthians 8:18-21) Even back in Paul’s day, financial accountability was considered to be proper. Money has a way of bringing temptations and men should not be left alone with large amounts of money. Even men of God have been tempted and led astray. At least two people were used to bring integrity to the administration and transport of their offering.
Integrity in the receiving and distribution of God’s money is important today. When there is misuse of funds or a church finds out its finances have been mishandled, great confusion and harm to the kingdom can result. Church offerings should be counted by two people who are unrelated. There should be checks and balances on spending of church money. The church board should have access to records of all income and all money spent on at least a monthly basis. Church books should be open to church members if there are questions.
Integrity is right in God’s eyes too! He is watching how we handle His money. He knows every penny that comes in and how it is spent. Are you accountable to God in handling your personal finances? Are you managing your finances in such a way that God is able to bless you? Every church member should practice integrity in their own finances each day! If we are faithful in this little thing, He will bless us with much more later. (Matthew 25:21)