Bible Society of South Africa
3 April 2024Xanthe Hancox

Focus your faith on Him – Day 5

Be sincere – especially when it comes to money

Bible text(s)

17We are not like so many others, who handle God's message as if it were cheap merchandise; but because God has sent us, we speak with sincerity in his presence, as servants of Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:17GNBOpen in Bible reader

Paul’s critics in Corinth doubted his motives. We’ve already seen how they doubted his intentions to visit them and suggested he wasn’t transparent when he spoke about it (2 Corinthians 1:15-18).

Now it seems people are doubting his reasons for preaching the word of God. Could people trust that he really believed what he was preaching, or was he doing it just to make money like the “peddlers of God’s word” who could be found in any Roman city? It appears he did not want to be lumped together with the philosophers and politicians of his day who charged hefty fees for their speeches.

People were using God’s word to make a quick buck in Paul’s day much like they are today. Our world is full of religious racketeers who are doing exactly what Paul called here, “peddling God’s word”; marketing it for profit like cars, cell phones and chocolate.

Paul says, “We are not like that.”

Instead, he and his co-workers were “persons of sincerity”. They were quite clearly not going from place to place preaching the gospel in order to get rich; they understood that they were sent by God and answered to God.

This reminds us that motivation is not just a private matter, especially when it comes to money. The way we handle money shines like a laser pointer on the question of our sincerity as Christians. People want to see whether we handle money in accordance with our high principles or ditch our principles when there’s money to be made. Are we lax with our expense accounts? Do we hide income under the table? Do we en­gage in dubious tax shelters? Do we push for raises, commissions and bonuses at the expense of others? Do we take financial advantage of people in difficult circumstances? Do we twist contracts to gain a dispro­portionate financial gain? The question is not only whether we can justify ourselves, but also whether those around us can recognise that our actions are consistent with Christian beliefs. If not, we bring dishonour to ourselves and to the name of Christ.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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