Scandals involving money may destroy a local church. We read of laypeople, deacons, even pastors who steal and misdirect funds that should be supporting the local church but instead support their greedy lifestyle. Too often, the crime arises when there is insufficient oversight of financial dealings.
Such a crime, when discovered, should result in strong church discipline, even considering ex-communicating the perpetrator until they have repented, disciplined, and shown by their lifestyle that they have changed.
And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem.
1 Corinthians 16:3
In this passage, Paul planned to send money with several representative chosen by the Corinthian church. He did this so that there would be transparency in his financial dealings; there could no possibility that he could be accused of misappropriating these funds. Paul was establishing a paper trail and the Bible is the record.
It is comforting to know the Bible addresses so many dimensions of church life, including financial accountability. Sometimes, we may naively assume that such sins and crimes could not occur within a church. But the Christian, even if saved, still faces a struggle with the flesh. Unfortunately, at times, we give in to the temptations of the flesh leading to sins, including theft.
The only hope is to claim the promises that God gives us through His Holy Spirit. If we have confessed our sins, repented, and accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God promises us to never abandon us and will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Our paper trail is the Words of the Bible which God has given to us through His Holy Spirit. This paper trail holds us accountable to God and to our brothers and sisters of the Body of Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.