A Call to Generous Giving
1Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters,# Greek brothers. what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. 2They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.
3For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.# Greek for God’s holy people. 5They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.
6So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. 7Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us# Some manuscripts read your love for us.—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.
8I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.
9You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
10Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. 11Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. 13Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. 15As the Scriptures say,
“Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over,
and those who gathered only a little had enough.”# Exod 16:18.
Titus and His Companions
16But thank God! He has given Titus the same enthusiasm for you that I have. 17Titus welcomed our request that he visit you again. In fact, he himself was very eager to go and see you. 18We are also sending another brother with Titus. All the churches praise him as a preacher of the Good News. 19He was appointed by the churches to accompany us as we take the offering to Jerusalem# See 1 Cor 16:3-4.—a service that glorifies the Lord and shows our eagerness to help.
20We are traveling together to guard against any criticism for the way we are handling this generous gift. 21We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to see that we are honorable.
22We are also sending with them another of our brothers who has proven himself many times and has shown on many occasions how eager he is. He is now even more enthusiastic because of his great confidence in you. 23If anyone asks about Titus, say that he is my partner who works with me to help you. And the brothers with him have been sent by the churches,# Greek are apostles of the churches. and they bring honor to Christ. 24So show them your love, and prove to all the churches that our boasting about you is justified.