Thursday, 15 October 2015
…providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
2 Corinthians 8:21
Paul’s words here are also reflected in Romans 12:17 –
“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.”
Together, they find their source in the Greek translation of Proverbs 3:4 –
“And so find favor and high esteem
In the sight of God and man.”
Paul knew his own conscience, and he was fully aware that God knew it as well. As he said in 2 Corinthians 5:11, “…we are well known to God.” He could easily have collected all of the money, put it in a traveling bag, and headed to Jerusalem without any notion of taking a penny for himself. Upon arrival, he would have presented it to the saints there with a clear conscience within himself and before the Lord.
However, he was not the only person who was involved in the process. There were the many who gave, and there were those who would receive. If even one person had ill thoughts about how Paul would handle such a gift, then it would taint the entire process. Suppose he was robbed during the journey. Would those who had so faithfully given believe his story? Questions would surely arise in their minds as to what “really” happened to this immense gift.
And so it was his intent to always be “providing honorable things.” It is a lesson each one of us should carry with us at all times. Others are evaluating us, even if we have a clear conscience towards God. For a list of other verses which carry this or a similar idea by Paul, you can refer to Romans 14:6; 2 Corinthians 6:3, 1 Timothy 5:14; 1 Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:8.
Life application: If we believe that God is watching us and will hold us accountable for our actions, and if we actually care that this will occur, then we will tend to act in a morally proper manner. However, those around us cannot get inside our heads and discern what God can. Therefore, it is right that our external actions are guided by safeguarding principles which will keep others from making unfounded, negative deductions about our actions.
Heavenly Father, as followers of the Lord, help us to remember that even if our hearts are directed to You and our consciences are clear in dealings with others, still they don’t know us as You do. And so help our actions to be appropriate in all ways and at all times so that they will never be misinterpreted. Help us to be regarded as upright by men so that Your name will be exalted when we speak of You. Amen.