2 Corinthians 8:20-21 (NIV)
20 We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21 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.
In making preparations to collect the offering from his church in Corinth, Paul goes out of his way to show that he and his team are taking great pains to make sure that the funds given by his church are being handled carefully and responsibly without any hint of mismanagement. Why? It's because Paul understood that your reputation depends on how you handle other people's money.
What can we learn from this? Be careful in how you handle other people’s money, especially church money. How you handle other people’s money says a lot about your character. So do your absolute best to be efficient, responsible, clear and careful in how you handle other people's money.
Practically speaking, what does that mean? Here are some examples:
- If you owe money to someone, pay it back as quickly as you possibly can and no later than when you originally said you would. Do not leave any debt outstanding and don't leave that person who is waiting for payment hanging.
- If like Paul you are delivering funds on someone's behalf, deliver those funds on time and ask the person you're giving the funds to to sign a receipt to confirm they received it.
- If you are counting money that has been collected for the church or some other organization, especially if it is in cash, have a witness – a second pair of eyes – to help you count and record the amount that you counted.
- Whenever you need someone to help with counting or delivering funds, ask someone whom you know to be highly responsible, careful, and detail-oriented.
- Whenever you ask for a reimbursement, always attach a clear receipt and don't wait too long before submitting the reimbursement request.
- If you hold money for others, keep good records of it and keep it separate from your own funds so that they don't get mixed together.
Can you think of any other examples?
The fact is: Your reputation depends on how you handle other people's money. Like Paul, do everything you can to avoid being seen as mismanaging money or being greedy or irresponsible with money. As Jesus says, “if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:11)