2 Corinthians 8:16-24
I am thankful to God that he has given Titus the same enthusiasm for you that I have. He welcomed our request that he visit you again. In fact, he himself was eager to go and see you. We are also sending another brother with Titus. He is highly praised in all the churches as a preacher of the Good News. He was appointed by the churches to accompany us as we take the offering to Jerusalem – a service that glorifies the Lord and shows our eagerness to help. By traveling together we will guard against any suspicion, for we are anxious that no one should find fault with the way we are handling this generous gift. We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to know we are honorable.
And we are also sending with them another brother who has been thoroughly tested and has shown how earnest he is on many occasions. He is now even more enthusiastic because of his increased confidence in you. If anyone asks about Titus, say that he is my partner who works with me to help you. And these brothers are representatives of the churches. They are splendid examples of those who bring glory to Christ. So show them your love, and prove to all the churches that our boasting about you is justified.
In this short passage of scripture, Paul is emphasizing accountability and partnership. God did not place us on this earth to be an island unto ourselves, maneuvering through life’s journey all alone. He understands our deepest need for companionship and encouragement, and often times, he specifically places others into our lives to meet those needs. Sometimes, due to past hurts and disappointments, we choose to isolate ourselves and reject all forms of intimate friendships, keeping all relationships superficial and distant. At the end of the day, this is a very dysfunctional and disabling way to live life and ministry.
Jesus had 12 disciples, but within those 12 he had an inner circle of 2 or 3 more intimate confidants. These few men were those that he shared more guarded details of his life and ministry. He looked to them for accountability and companionship. In the end, every one of them disappointed and deserted him at his most desperate point of need, but that didn’t change his love and acceptance of them. Because of Christ’s love and unhindered acceptance, most of them went on to become the greatest world-changers for the cause of Christ. Even in the midst of pain and rejection, Christ modeled what perfect friendship, love and accountability is to look like. We have the choice to either follow Christ’s example and include others into our lives and ministries or choose to continue to isolate ourselves and walk out our lives hindered and lonely. The choice is ours.
Do you have someone that you consider a close, intimate, accountability friend? If not, why? Do you purposely keep people at arm’s length because of past hurts, or do you sincerely desire a close friend and confidant? Have you been the friend to someone else that you desire in your own life? Have you ever destroyed a friendship due to your own lack of loyalty or unfaithfulness? I encourage you to go to that person today, and make things right. Ask God to reveal weaknesses in your own life that are hindering you from developing long-lasting, trustworthy friendships. Begin to work on those weaknesses and challenge yourself to become a more faithful friend. Then ask God to begin to send you divine relationships that will bring about encouragement and accountability.
Have a great day!