But we desire to let you know, brethren, of the grace of God which has been bestowed on the Churches of Macedonia;
how, while passing through great trouble, their boundless joy even amid their deep poverty has overflowed to increase their generous liberality.
For I can testify that to the utmost of their power, and even beyond their power, they have of their own free will given help.
With earnest entreaty they begged from us the favour of being allowed to share in the service now being rendered to God's people.
They not only did this, as we had expected, but first of all in obedience to God's will they gave their own selves to the Lord and to us.
This led us to urge Titus that, as he had previously been the one who commenced the work, so he should now go and complete among you this act of beneficence also.
Yes, just as you are already very rich in faith, readiness of speech, knowledge, unwearied zeal, and in the love that is in you, implanted by us, see to it that this grace of liberal giving also flourishes in you.
I am not saying this by way of command, but to test by the standard of other men's earnestness the genuineness of your love also.
For you know the condescending goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ--how for your sakes He became poor, though He was rich, in order that you through His poverty might grow rich.
But in this matter I give you an opinion; for my doing this helps forward your own intentions, seeing that not only have you begun operations, but a year ago you already had the desire to do so.
And now complete the doing also, in order that, just as there was then the eagerness in desiring, there may now be the accomplishment in proportion to your means.
For, assuming the earnest willingness, the gift is acceptable according to whatever a man has, and not according to what he has not.
I do not urge you to give in order that others may have relief while you are unduly pressed,
but that, by equalization of burdens, your superfluity having in the present emergency supplied their deficiency, their superfluity may in turn be a supply for your deficiency later on, so that there may be equalization of burdens.
Even as it is written, 'He who gathered much had not too much, and he who gathered little had not too little.'
But thanks be to God that He inspires the heart of Titus with the same deep interest in you;
for Titus welcomed our request, and, being thoroughly in earnest, comes to you of his own free will.
And we send with him the brother whose praises for his earnestness in proclaiming the Good News are heard throughout all the Churches.
And more than that, he is the one who was chosen by the vote of the Churches to travel with us, sharing our commission in the administration of this generous gift to promote the Lord's glory and gratify our own strong desire.
For against one thing we are on our guard--I mean against blame being thrown upon us in respect to these large and liberal contributions which are under our charge.
For we seek not only God's approval of our integrity, but man's also.
And we send with them our brother, of whose zeal we have had frequent proof in many matters, and who is now more zealous than ever through the strong confidence which he has in you.
As for Titus, remember that he is a partner with me, and is my comrade in my labours for you. And as for our brethren, remember that they are delegates from the Churches, and are men in whom Christ is glorified.
Exhibit therefore to the Churches a proof of your love, and a justification of our boasting to these brethren about you.