Help for God’s People in Judea
1And now, brothers and sisters, we want to tell you what God’s grace has done in the churches in Macedonia. 2These believers have been tested by great troubles, and they are very poor. But their great joy caused them to be very generous in their giving. 3I can tell you that they gave as much as they were able and even more than they could afford. No one told them to do this. It was their idea. 4But they asked us again and again—they begged us to let them share in this service for God’s people. 5And they gave in a way that we did not expect: They gave themselves to the Lord and to us before they gave their money. This is what God wants.
6So we asked Titus to help you finish this special work of giving. He is the one who started this work. 7You are rich in everything—in faith, in speaking ability, in knowledge, in the willingness to help, and in the love you learned from us. So now we want you to be rich in this work of giving too.
8I am not ordering you to give, but I want to see how real your love is by comparing you with others who have been so ready and willing to help. 9You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. You know that he gave up his heavenly riches for you. He gave up everything so that you could be richly blessed.
10This is what I think you should do: Last year you were the first to want to give, and you were the first who gave. 11So now finish the work you started. Then your “doing” will be equal to your “wanting to do.” Give from what you have. 12If you want to give, your gift will be accepted. Your gift will be judged by what you have, not by what you don’t have. 13We don’t want you to have troubles while others are comforted. We want everything to be equal. 14At this time you have plenty and can provide what they need. Then later, when they have plenty, they can provide what you need. Then everyone will have an equal share. 15As the Scriptures say,
“Those who gathered much did not have too much,
and those who gathered little did not have too little.” Exodus 16:18
Titus and His Companions
16I thank God because he gave Titus the same love for you that I have. 17Titus agreed to do what we asked. In fact, he himself wanted very much to come see you. 18We are sending with Titus the brother who is praised by all the churches. He is praised because of his service to the Good News. 19Also, he was chosen by the churches to go with us when we carry this gift. We are doing this service to bring honor#8:19 honor Or “glory.” See “glory” in the Word List. to the Lord and to show that we really want to help.
20We are being careful so that no one will criticize us about the way we are caring for this large gift. 21We are trying to do what is right. We want to do what the Lord accepts as right and also what people think is right.
22Also, we are sending with them our brother who is always ready to help. He has proved this to us in many ways. And he wants to help even more now because he has much faith in you.
23Now about Titus—he is my partner. He is working together with me to help you. And about the other brothers—they are sent from the churches, and they bring honor to Christ. 24So show these men that you really have love. Show them why we are proud of you. Then all the churches can see it.
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