(Vs. 12.) In the matter of giving, the motive and spirit in which we give are of greater importance than the amount. There must first be a willing mind. If what we give springs from a cheerful and willing heart, it is accepted of God, it be little or much, for the Lord does not require of us that which is not in our power to give. The widow's mite and a cup of cold water given willingly for the glory of God are well-pleasing to God (Phil. 4:18).
(Vs. 13, 14.) The apostle's meaning is that the burden of the collection or offering should not be carried by some while others are excused from giving, but that everyone should give according to his ability (1 Cor. 16:1, 2). Also, the meaning is that there should be an equality between givers and receivers - share and share alike. "At the present time your brethren are in need and your gifts will supply that need. At another time their surplus may be given to supply your want" (Acts 2:44, 45).
(Vs. 15.) This is a quotation from Exodus 16:17, 18 and refers to the manna which God gave for food in the wilderness. Each morning it was gathered by the people, by some more, by others less; yet when it was measured, every man had his omer and no more. The man who gathered much shared with those who gathered less, and every need was met. If we are blessed of God to have an abundance of material blessings, he surely intends us to share with those who have less strength, ability, or blessing. This does not excuse nor justify laziness and an unwillingness to work (2 Thess. 3:10). The true believer does not look upon giving for the preaching of the gospel and the relief of the needy as a duty, but as a privilege and a blessing (Acts 20:35). What we give is not really ours but the Lord's. We are but his stewards and servants (1 Chron. 29:12-14).
(Vs. 16, 17.) Paul requested of Titus that he go to Corinth for the purpose of receiving a collection and to assist them in the matter of giving, but God had already laid the matter on the heart of Titus, and though he made the journey at the suggestion of the older apostle, he willingly did so of his own accord. How blessed is the service of the Lord when it is motivated by with a willing heart!
(Vs. 18, 19.) Who this brother was is difficult to say. Some have suggested Luke, Barnabas, Silas, Apollos, or Mark, but one thing is clear, he was a brother who faithfully preached the gospel. Also, he was one chosen by the churches to travel as Paul's companion when carried a large gift for distribution among the needy. On that occasion, as now, Paul's end was the glory of God and to show his readiness to help others.
(Vs. 20, 21.) Paul is careful to have another brother, designated with by the church, with him when he is entrusted with gifts and money for distribution. This is not only to provide things honest in the sight of God, but also in the sight of men. Paul would not handle so large a gift alone lest someone should think that he had applied it to his own use or did not distribute it to those for whom it was intended. Paul could be trusted and he certainly trusted Titus, but he did not know what men say; he therefore takes along or sends along a witness. Let us be careful to pattern our methods in the handling of collections in the same way (2 Cor. 13:1).
(Vs. 22.) Paul mentions sending another brother of good report and faithful service along with them.
(Vs. 23.) This verse contains Paul's words of recommendation for Titus and the brethren sent to Corinth to make up their collection and gifts for the needy in other places. In the matter of preaching the gospel Paul, on another occasion, discounted letters of recommendation, saying that the gospel he preached and the fruits of his ministry were his letter of recommendation (2 Cor. 3:1-3). But in the matter of handling finances and receiving to hand large gifts to be taken to other places, Paul feels it necessary to express his personal confidence in these men and to assure the church at Corinth that they can be trusted fully. "As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow-helper, and the other two brethren are chosen messengers of the of the churches and a credit and glory to our Lord."
(Vs. 24.) "Therefore, when they come your way, receive them and show to them (before all) the reality and truth of your love to Christ, to others and to me. Show also that I have good reason for boasting about and being proud of you."