My dear brothers and sisters, I think you should know about the generosity that God has put in the hearts of those in the Macedonian churches.
Though they are being tested by many troubles, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty have come together in an act of great kindness. 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 privilege of contributing to the fund we’re collection for the believers in Jerusalem. And they even did more than we’d hoped, for they gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then, by the will of God, also to us.
So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your generous offer assistance in the first place, to return and help you to complete what you’d set out to do. Since you as a church excel in so many ways—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in eagerness, and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this gracious act of giving.
This isn’t a command, but I would like to compare the sincerity of your love with that shown by all the other churches. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ – though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
So here is my advice: it would be good for you to finish what you began a year ago. Last year you were first among the churches in wishing to give, and you were also the first to begin the collection. Now finish what you started. Let the willingness you showed at the beginning be matched by your generosity now. And give in proportion to what you have. For if the willingness is there, your gift is acceptable according to what you have, not what you don’t have.
Of course, I don’t mean that what you give should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves – I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, you may be in need and they can share with you from their plenty. Our aim is equality! As it has been written: “Those who gathered much didn’t have too much, and those who little didn’t have too little.”
But thanks be to God, because he has placed in Titus’ heart the same concern for you that I have, for he not only welcomed our request visit you, but he himself had already been very anxious to see you.
And we are also sending another brother with Titus. All the churches praise this man as a servant of the gospel. Furthermore, he has been appointed by the churches to accompany us as we take the offering to Jerusalem—a service that hours the Lord and demonstrate our eagerness to help. We shall be travelling together to avoid any criticism of our handling of this gift, for we want to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord, but also in the eyes of man.
In addition, we are sending with them another of our brothers who has proved himself many times and has shown on many occasions how eager he is to do the right thing. And now he is even more enthusiastic because of the great confidence he has in you. As for Titus, he is my partner and a fellow worker on your behalf. And the brothers who are with him are representatives of the churches and an honour to Christ. So show these men the proof of your love, and demonstrate to all the churches that our pride in is justified.