2 Corinthians 8:1…
Part of the pattern of life established by Jesus is giving.
Since the Church is the Body of Christ, it makes sense the Church would be an institution known for its charity.
But collecting money has so many negative connotations it must be done in an environment of suspicion of motive.
While all charitable institutions collect funds under the burden of being as open as possible about what happens to the money they receive, the Church bears this burden to an even greater degree since it represents Christ.
Paul has been about the business of collecting an offering from all the churches he has planted for the saints at Jerusalem, who are under tremendous persecution from Rome and from their fellow Jews, including their own families. They have been completely cut off from all former relationships, from being able to buy and sell in the markets, and from protection from the state. The church at Jerusalem, comprised almost entirely of Jewish believers in Jesus Christ, is in danger of starvation apart from the aid they may receive from the gentile churches.
Some might ask: Why would God allow this? Why wouldn’t God just pour down gold and food from heaven to aid the home church Jerusalem? (He could have. He chose not to.)
God instead chose to establish charity as the pattern of life for the church. For the church at Jerusalem to thrive, their fellow churches sensing their great need would choose – as led by the Holy Spirit – to meet that need.
Paul was called by God to the forefront of the agency of meeting the need, given he was the one chiefly aware of it, and chiefly able to do something about it.
And yet, we see Paul’s hesitancy when it comes to asking for money. The reason is because Satan has chosen to prey upon the Church’s innocence in this regard and sent hucksters and thieves to take advantage of the vulnerability of those in the Church who have a desire to help and the funds to do so. Satan even preys upon the guilt of those who have desire and lack funds. It makes no difference to him as long as the destruction of the Church is involved.
Even in the first century false prophets and false teachers were traveling the church circuit, making a living off of fleecing the flock. Paul was ministering in an environment of suspicion, and so he takes action with great consideration, and his actions guide us regarding Church giving to this day, because they are actions led by the Holy Spirit.