As if the apostle has said, I thank God that Titus was as forward to move you to this good work as myself; for he did not barely yield to it at my request, but of his own accord was ready to come to you about it. And with him he sent Luke, a beloved brother, whose service for the gospel has made him honoured in all the churches, and who was chosen by the church to go with us in this diaconary service, namely, the ministration of your charity to the glory of God, and evidencing the readiness of your mind to so good a work.
Here note, 1. The holy apostle's constant custom and practice, to refer all good in us to God, as the author and producer of it; Thanks be to God that put this into the heart of Titus.
Note, 2. That a minister of the gospel, who declines being chargeable to his people himself, may yet put on confidence, and be bold and importunate in urging them to charity for the service and supply of others.
Note, 3. That St. Paul's importunity for collecting this charity at Corinth, shews how much the case was altered, since at Jerusalem, Act_4:34-37 they sold all and laid it at the apostle's feet: and as that was not intended for a constant and universal practice, so we see how quickly the love of Christians grew more cold. To procure this charity, St. Paul writes, Titus is sent, exhortation is given, arguments urged, and all due means used to accomplish this collection for the poor distressed Christians.
Note, 4. That amongst Christians, renowned for gifts and parts, costly duties come hardly off, else what needed this ado? And yet it is not the cheap duties of religion (such are prayer, hearing the word, and receiving sacraments) but the costly duties of charity, that must evidence the truth of our faith and love, which are certainly dead, if barren and destitute of these fruits.