Encouragement to give generously
1Brothers and sisters, we want to let you know about the grace of God that was given to the churches of Macedonia. 2While they were being tested by many problems, their extra amount of happiness and their extreme poverty resulted in a surplus of rich generosity. 3I assure you that they gave what they could afford and even more than they could afford, and they did it voluntarily. 4They urgently begged us for the privilege#8.4 Or grace of sharing in this service for the saints. 5They even exceeded our expectations, because they gave themselves to the Lord first and to us, consistent with God’s will. 6As a result, we challenged Titus to finish this work of grace with you the way he had started it.
7Be the best in this work of grace in the same way that you are the best in everything, such as faith, speech, knowledge, total commitment, and the love we inspired in you. 8I’m not giving an order, but by mentioning the commitment of others, I’m trying to prove the authenticity of your love also. 9You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although he was rich, he became poor for your sakes, so that you could become rich through his poverty.
10I’m giving you my opinion about this. It’s to your advantage to do this, since you not only started to do it last year but you wanted to do it too. 11Now finish the job as well so that you finish it with as much enthusiasm as you started, given what you can afford. 12A gift is appreciated because of what a person can afford, not because of what that person can’t afford, if it’s apparent that it’s done willingly. 13It isn’t that we want others to have financial ease and you financial difficulties, but it’s a matter of equality. 14At the present moment, your surplus can fill their deficit so that in the future their surplus can fill your deficit. In this way there is equality. 15As it is written, “The one who gathered more didn’t have too much, and the one who gathered less didn’t have too little.”#8.15 Exod 16:18
Plans for the Collection
16But thank God, who put the same commitment that I have for you in Titus’ heart. 17Not only has he accepted our challenge but he’s on his way to see you voluntarily, and he’s excited. 18We are sending the brother who is famous in all the churches because of his work for the gospel along with him.
19In addition to this, he is chosen by the churches to be our traveling companion in this work of grace, which we are taking care of for the sake of the glory of the Lord himself, and to show our desire to help. 20We are trying to avoid being blamed by anyone for the way we take care of this large amount of money. 21We care about doing the right thing, not only in the Lord’s eyes but also in the eyes of other people.
22We are sending our brother with them. We have tested his commitment in many ways and many times. Now he’s even more committed, because he has so much confidence in you. 23If there is any question about Titus, he is my partner and coworker among you. If there is any question about our brothers, they are the churches’ apostles and an honor to Christ. 24So show them the proof of your love and the reason we are so proud of you, in such a way that the churches can see it.