I really don't need to write to you about this gift for the Christians in Jerusalem. a2
For I know how eager you are to help, and I have been boasting to our friends in Macedonia that you Christians in Greece b were ready to send an offering a year ago. In fact, it was your enthusiasm that stirred up many of them to begin helping.
But I am sending these brothers just to be sure that you really are ready, as I told them you would be, with your money all collected. I don't want it to turn out that I was wrong in my boasting about you.
I would be humiliated -- and so would you -- if some Macedonian Christians came with me, only to find that you still weren't ready after all I had told them!
So I thought I should send these brothers ahead of me to make sure the gift you promised is ready. But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given under pressure.
Remember this -- a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.
You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully.
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
As the Scriptures say, "Godly people give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will never be forgotten." c10
For God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will give you many opportunities to do good, and he will produce a great harvest of generosity d in you.
Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God.
So two good things will happen -- the needs of the Christians in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanksgiving to God.
You will be glorifying God through your generous gifts. For your generosity to them will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.
And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the wonderful grace of God shown through you.
Thank God for his Son -- a gift too wonderful for words! e
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)