1And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace ˻(kindness)˼ that God gave the churches ˻(groups of believers)˼ in Macedonia. 2Those believers have been tested by great troubles. And they are very poor people. But they gave much because of their great joy. 3I can tell you that they gave as much as they were able. Those believers gave even more than they could afford. They did this freely. No person told them to do this. 4But they asked us again and again—they begged us to let them share in this service for God’s people. 5And they gave in a way that we did not expect: They gave themselves to the Lord and to us before ˻they gave their money˼. This is what God wants. 6So we asked Titus to help you finish this special work of grace ˻(kindness)˼. Titus is the one who started this work. 7You are rich in everything—in faith, in speaking, in knowledge, in truly wanting to help, and in the love you learned from us. And so we want you to also be rich in this gift of giving. 8I am not commanding you to give. But I want to see if your love is true love. I do this by showing you that other people really want to help. 9You know the grace ˻(kindness)˼ of our Lord Jesus Christ. You know that Christ was rich ˻with God˼, but for you he became poor. Christ did this so that you could become rich by his becoming poor. 10This is what I think you should do: Last year you were the first to want to give. And you were the first that gave. 11So now finish the work ˻you started˼. Then your “doing” will be equal to your “wanting to do.” Give from what you have. 12If you want to give, then your gift will be accepted. Your gift will be judged by what you have, not by what you don’t have. 13We don’t want you to have troubles while other people are comforted. We want everything to be equal. 14At this time you have plenty. These things you have can help other people to have the things they need. Then later, when they have plenty, they can help you to have the things you need. Then all will be equal. 15Like the Scriptures say, “The person that gathered much did not have too much, and the person that gathered little did not have too little.” 16I thank God because he gave Titus the same love for you that I have. 17Titus accepted the things we asked him to do. He wanted very much to go to you. This was his own idea. 18We are sending with Titus the brother who is praised by all the churches ˻(groups of believers)˼. This brother is praised because of his service in the gospel. 19Also, this brother was chosen by the churches to go with us when we carry this gift ˻(the money)˼. We are doing this service to bring glory to the Lord and to show that we really want to help. 20We are being careful so that no person will criticize us about the way we are caring for this large gift. 21We are trying to do what is right. We want to do what the Lord accepts as right and also what people think is right. 22Also, we are sending with them our brother who is always ready to help. He has proved this to us in many ways. And he wants to help even more now because he has much faith in you. 23Now about Titus—he is my partner. He is working together with me to help you. And about the other brothers—they are sent from the churches ˻(groups of believers)˼, and they bring glory to Christ. 24So show these men that you really have love. Show them why we are proud of you. Then all the churches can see it.
2 Corinthians 8