Brothers and sisters, we want to let you know about the grace of God shown to the Macedonian churches. Even though they have suffered terrible trouble, they are overflowing with happiness; and even though they are very poor, they are also overflowing in their generosity. I can confirm that they gave what they could, in fact even more than that! By their own choice they kept on pleading with us to have a part in this privilege of sharing in this ministry to God's people. They didn't just do what we hoped they would do, but they gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us, as God wanted them to do. So we have encouraged Titussince it was he who started this work with youto return and complete this gracious ministry of yours.
Since you have an abundance of everythingyour trust in God, your eloquence, your spiritual knowledge, your complete dedication, and in your love for usmake sure that your abundance also extends to this gracious ministry of giving. I'm not ordering you to do this, but to prove how sincere your love is in comparison with the dedication of others.* For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even though he was rich, he became poor for you, so that through his poverty you could become rich. 10 This is my advice: it would be good if you finished what you started. Last year you were not only the first to give but the first to want to do so. 11 Now finish what you planned to do. Be as keen to finish as you were to plan, and give as you are able. 12 If the willingness is there, it's fine to give what you have, not what you don't have! 13 This is not to make things easier for others and harder for you, but simply to be fair. 14 At the moment you have more than enough and can meet their needs, and in turn when they have more than enough they can meet your needs. In that way everyone is treated fairly. 15 As Scripture says, “The one who had much didn't have any excess, and the one who didn't have much didn't have too little.”
16 Thanks be to God that he gave to Titus the same devotion for you that I have. 17 Though he agreed to do what we told him, he's coming to see you because he really wants to, and had already decided to do so. 18 We're also sending with him a brother who is praised by all the churches for his work in spreading the good news. 19 He was also appointed by the churches to go with us as we deliver this gracious offering we're carrying. We do this to honor the Lord and to show our eagerness to help others. 20 We want to guard against anyone criticizing us about how we use this gift. 21 We're concerned to do things the right way, not only in the eyes of the Lord, but also in the eyes of everyone. 22 We're also sending with them another brother who has proved to be reliable on many occasions, and who is eager to help. He is now even more eager to help because of the great confidence he has in you. 23 If anyone asks about Titus, he is my companion. He works with me on your behalf. The other brothers are representatives from the churches and an honor to Christ. 24 So please welcome them before all the churches and show them your love, proving how rightly proud we are of you.
* 8:8 Presumably meaning the other churches such as those in Macedonia. 8:15 This refers to the gathering of manna in Exodus 16:8. 8:19 See 1 Corinthians 16:3-4.