Now, brothers, we must tell you about the grace God has given the congregations in Macedonia.
Despite severe trials, and even though they are desperately poor, their joy has overflowed in a wealth of generosity.
I tell you they have not merely given according to their means, but of their own free will they have given beyond their means.
They begged and pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service for God's people.
Also, they didn't do this in the way we had expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord, which means, by God's will, to us.
All this has led us to urge Titus to bring this same gracious gift to completion among you, since he has already made a beginning of it.
Just as you excel in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in diligence of every kind, and in your love for us - see that you excel in this gift too.
I am not issuing an order; rather, I am testing the genuineness of your love against the diligence of others.
For you know how generous our Lord Yeshua the Messiah was - for your sakes he impoverished himself, even though he was rich, so that he might make you rich by means of his poverty.
As I say, in regard to this matter I am only giving an opinion. A year ago you were not only the first to take action but the first to want to do so. Now it would be to your advantage
to finish what you started, so that your eagerness in wanting to commence the project may be matched by your eagerness to complete it, as you contribute from what you have.
For if the eagerness to give is there, the acceptability of the gift will be measured by what you have, not by what you don't have.
It is not that relief for others should cause trouble for you, but that there should be a kind of reciprocity:
at present your abundance can help those in need; so that when you are in need, their abundance can help you - thus there is reciprocity.
It is as the Tanakh says, "He who gathered much had nothing extra, and he who gathered little had nothing lacking."
Now I thank God for making Titus as devoted to you as we are;
for he not only responded to our urging, but, being so devoted, he is coming to you on his own initiative.
And with him we are sending the brother whose work for the Good News is praised in all the congregations;
not only that, he has also been appointed by the congregations to travel with us, so that the way we administer this charitable work will bring honor to the Lord and show our eagerness to help.
Our aim in this is to show that our conduct in dealing with these substantial sums is above reproach;
for we take pains to do what is right not only in the sight of God but also in the sight of other people. i
With these two we are sending another brother of ours, one whose diligence we have tested many times in many ways, but who is now all the more diligent because of his great confidence in you.
As for Titus, he is my partner who works with me on your behalf; and the other brothers with him are emissaries of the congregations and bring honor to the Messiah.
So the love you show these men will justify our pride in you to them, and through them to the congregations that sent them.