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October 12, 2010

Giving in Jesus

 Tested and Found Diligent Today

“We have sent with them our brother, whom we have often tested and found diligent in many things, but now even more diligent because of his great confidence in you,”

2 Corinthians 8:22, page 1813

     When I was a child, my father encouraged me to be diligent in my work, and I needed that encouragement.  He quoted me a verse: “But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62, page 1618).   The context of this verse shows us that Christ calls people to follow Him, but only some people will leave behind other cares and concerns and follow Jesus.  Only some people will be fit for the kingdom of God.  My father meant that I should be careful to devote my life to the work of Jesus Christ and follow Him alone, wherever He led me.

       In 2 Corinthians 8:22, page 1813, Paul has been looking at the people entrusted with taking the money from the Corinthian assembly in Greece down to saints in Jerusalem, Israel.  Paul seeks to reassure the Corinthians about the men and their character and faithfulness.

Principle of Giving:

Before You Entrust Money To Someone,

Be Sure To Test Him in Many Things

      Paul first describes the brother as tested (“ἐδοκιμάσαμεν“), a term which means that he has been proved after examination.  So often, believers do not really know the person they are entrusting funds to.  Do not send money with anyone or to anyone that has not been previously tested and approved by faithful brethren.    Notice too that Paul said this brother has been tested in many things, and found faithful.  Be sure that the person is not a new-comer, or a young believer, without a careful track record.  Paul refers to the character of this faithful servant as “diligent” (“σπουδαῖον“).  The phrase here means that we have tested this man, and our testing has been wide and complete, and at all times, including the present, he has been diligent.  The term diligent relates directly to the testing by Paul.

       God continually tests our character.  God seeks clean vessels, sanctified and useful to Jesus for every good work (2 Timothy 2:21, page 1863).  God often performs these tests using the people around us, and they see if we are diligent and trustworthy.  In this particular case, with the unnamed brother, Paul comments that this brother will be “even more diligent because of his great confidence (“πεποιθήσει“) in you.   Paul sort of makes a play on words here, with the idea that we have tested our brother in many circumstances and found him diligent, and now in many ways he will be even more diligent because of his confidence in you.  In other words, we have confidence in him and he has confidence in you.

        ●   So, we learn some more about giving in Christ.

        ●  We learn that should entrust money only to men who have been tested in many ways, and proven faithful in many previous matters.

      ●  We learn that giving involves the administration of the gift after it has been collected from the saints.  During this administration, faithful men should distribute the money, but that we must have confidence in what they do.

       ●  We hinder giving when we entrust money to unproven men, or men who have failed the tests set before them.  

Application for Today

        Today, I will be looking for God to test me through my friends in Christ.  I want to be found faithful to God, so that He can entrust me with other tasks in the future.  If I have not been diligent enough before, today is a new day to be diligent.  I want to be a diligent servant of Christ today.  Will you be diligent, particularly in financial matters, today?


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