Now I want to tell you, dear brothers and sisters, a what God in his kindness has done for the churches in Macedonia.
Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, their wonderful joy and deep poverty have overflowed in rich generosity.
For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will.
They begged us again and again for the gracious privilege of sharing in the gift for the Christians in Jerusalem.
Best of all, they went beyond our highest hopes, for their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord and to us for whatever directions God might give them.
So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to complete your share in this ministry of giving.
Since you excel in so many ways -- you have so much faith, such gifted speakers, such knowledge, such enthusiasm, and such love for us b -- now I want you to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving.
I am not saying you must do it, even though the other churches are eager to do it. This is one way to prove your love is real.
You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus Christ was. Though he was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
I suggest that you finish what you started a year ago, for you were the first to propose this idea, and you were the first to begin doing something about it.
Now you should carry this project through to completion just as enthusiastically as you began it. Give whatever you can according to what you have.
If you are really eager to give, it isn't important how much you are able to give. God wants you to give what you have, not what you don't have.
Of course, I don't mean you should give so much that you suffer from having too little. I only mean that there should be some equality.
Right now you have plenty and can help them. Then at some other time they can share with you when you need it. In this way, everyone's needs will be met.
Do you remember what the Scriptures say about this? "Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough." c16
I am thankful to God that he has given Titus the same enthusiasm for you that I have.
He welcomed our request that he visit you again. In fact, he himself was eager to go and see you.
We are also sending another brother with Titus. He is highly praised in all the churches as a preacher of the Good News.
He was appointed by the churches to accompany us as we take the offering to Jerusalem d -- a service that glorifies the Lord and shows our eagerness to help.
By traveling together we will guard against any suspicion, for we are anxious that no one should find fault with the way we are handling this generous gift.
We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to know we are honorable.
And we are also sending with them another brother who has been thoroughly tested and has shown how earnest he is on many occasions. He is now even more enthusiastic because of his increased confidence in you.
If anyone asks about Titus, say that he is my partner who works with me to help you. And these brothers are representatives e of the churches. They are splendid examples of those who bring glory to Christ.
So show them your love, and prove to all the churches that our boasting about you is justified.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)