We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia;
for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means,
begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints—
and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us,
so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you.
Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you —so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.
I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others.
For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something—
now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means.
For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have.
I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between
your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance.
As it is written, "The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little."
But thanks be to God who put in the heart of Titus the same eagerness for you that I myself have.
For he not only accepted our appeal, but since he is more eager than ever, he is going to you of his own accord.
With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his proclaiming the good news;
and not only that, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us while we are administering this generous undertaking for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our goodwill.
We intend that no one should blame us about this generous gift that we are administering,
for we intend to do what is right not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of others.
And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found eager in many matters, but who is now more eager than ever because of his great confidence in you.
As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker in your service; as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.
Therefore openly before the churches, show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you.