1 Now I am going to tell you, brothers, of God's spiritual blessing which was given in the churches of Macedonia, 2 because in spite of a terrible test of trouble, the mighty flood of their gladness mingling with the depths of their poverty has overflowed and resulted in the abundance of their liberality. 3 For they have given, I can testify, to the utmost of their ability, and even beyond their ability. Of their own accord, 4 with earnest entreaty, they kept on begging me for the favor of sharing in this service that is being rendered to God's people. 5 They did not do as I expected but even more; they first by God's will gave themselves to the Lord, and then to me; 6 so that I insisted that Titus, as he had formerly commenced it, should bring to completion this gracious contribution among you too. 7 Yes, just as you are growing rich in everything else, in faith, expression, knowledge, perfect enthusiasm, and the love inspired in you by us, you must see to it that you grow rich in this gracious contribution too.
8 I am not saying this in the spirit of a command, but I am simply trying to test the genuineness of your love by the enthusiasm of others. 9 For by experience you know the unmerited favor shown by our Lord Jesus Christ; that although He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, in order that by His poverty you might become rich. 10 Now I will give you my opinion on this matter. For this is for your interest, because you were not only the first to do anything about it, but the first to want to do so; you started it a year ago. 11 Now finish doing it too, so that your readiness to finish it may be just like your readiness to start it, in accordance with what you have. 12 If a man is ready and willing to give, his gift is acceptable in accordance with what he has, not with what he does not have. 13 For I do not want it to be a relief for others and a burden on you, 14 but through an equalizing of matters in the present crisis I do want your abundance to relieve their need, that some day their abundance may relieve your need, so that equality may exist -- 15 just as the Scripture says, "The man who gathered much did not have too much, and the man who gathered little did not have too little."
16 But thanks be to God, who kindles in the heart of Titus the same enthusiasm for you that I have; 17 because he has acceded to my request, or rather, because he is so enthusiastic for you, of his own accord he is off to visit you. 18 I am sending with him the well-known brother whose praise for spreading the good news is ringing through all the churches. 19 Not only that, but he has been selected by the churches to travel with me for this gracious contribution which is being raised by me, so that it may turn out for the glory of the Lord and a proof of my readiness to serve. 20 I am arranging it so that no one can blame me in the matter of this munificent fund that is being handled by me. 21 For I am taking the precaution to do what is right, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the eyes of men. 22 I send with them another brother of ours, whom I have often in many ways tested and found to be enthusiastic, but now he is more enthusiastic than ever, because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and comrade in the work for you, while these brothers of ours, the representatives of the churches, will bring glory to Christ. 24 So you must furnish them, before all the churches, proof of your love and ground for my praising you so highly.