2Co 8:16-18 “ But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;”
As we examine the day-to-day occurrences in our life, there is a component that often seems to be missing. We grumble and complain if things are not going well, and we credit luck and karma when things appear to be working in our favor. We forget that in all things, we should be giving thanks to God.
In this particular instance, Paul was thanking God for the very real concern that Titus had for the saints at Corinth. He did not give Titus the credit for this even though he did commend him. Paul’s commendation was not to make Titus feel good about himself, but rather to point the church to God’s care for them. Titus did not just decide to care about them: God put the earnest care for them in Titus’ heart.
Since I have a shed out back that is mine, I do not have to ask anyone if I can put something there. I certainly do not make an inquiry of the shed to see if it is alright with it. I simply put it there because I have the right and responsibility to choose where that item is put.
Our hearts belong to God. As such, He did not have to ask Titus if he wanted to have an earnest care for the church at Corinth. God did not ask the church at Corinth if they wanted Titus to be concerned about their welfare. It was His righteous act to put the care for the Corinthian brethren wherever He pleased.
This is not about God being narcissistic, as some might claim. Rather this displays God’s love for His servants and His church by working in them His will for their good. Paul obviously encouraged Titus to go to Corinth (“he accepted the exhortation”). So as not to appear to be taking credit, Paul assured the saints that Titus wanted to come to them even without Paul’s encouragement.
Every servant of God understands what it is for God to put an earnest care in their hearts for His people. While there is a general concern for the welfare of the Lord’s people everywhere, He also puts in our hearts an earnest desire from time to time for a particular congregation. The desire may manifest itself as a longing to be a member of a particular congregation or a burden to labor as a pastor in a particular place. The thing to keep firmly in view is that this desire is only fruitful if God has put it in our hearts.
Titus did not go alone to Corinth. Someone who was well-known among the churches as an able minister of the gospel accompanied him. Paul never identifies who this brother was, but rather describes in upcoming verses the attributes that God put in this servant. As ministers of the gospel, personal notoriety should never be our goal. Having our praise in the gospel (being remembered for our handling of the truth of Jesus Christ) should be our great joy.
May God continue to put the earnest care of the churches in the hearts of those who make of themselves no reputation!