1. Next, brothers, we will tell you of the grace of God which has been granted to the churches of Macedonia,
2. and how, throughout continual ordeals of hardship, their unfailing joy and their intense poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
3. I can testify that it was of their own accord that they made their gift, which was not merely as far as their resources would allow, but well beyond their resources;
4. and they had kept imploring us most insistently for the privilege of a share in the fellowship of service to God's holy people-
5. it was not something that we expected of them, but it began by their offering themselves to the Lord and to us at the prompting of the will of God.
6. In the end we urged Titus, since he had already made a beginning, also to bring this work of generosity to completion among you.
7. More, as you are rich in everything-faith, eloquence, understanding, concern for everything, and love for us too -- then make sure that you excel in this work of generosity too.
8. I am not saying this as an order, but testing the genuineness of your love against the concern of others.
9. You are well aware of the generosity which our Lord Jesus Christ had, that, although he was rich, he became poor for your sake, so that you should become rich through his poverty.
10. I will give you my considered opinion in the matter; this will be the right course for you as you were the first, a year ago, not only to take any action but also even to conceive the project.
11. Now, then, complete the action as well, so that the fulfilment may -- so far as your resources permit -- be proportionate to your enthusiasm for the project.
12. As long as the enthusiasm is there, the basis on which it is acceptable is what someone has, not what someone does not have.
13. It is not that you ought to relieve other people's needs and leave yourselves in hardship; but there should be a fair balance-
14. your surplus at present may fill their deficit, and another time their surplus may fill your deficit. So there may be a fair balance;
15. as scripture says: No one who had collected more had too much, no one who collected less had too little.
16. Thank God for putting into Titus' heart the same sincere concern for you.
17. He certainly took our urging to heart; but greater still was his own enthusiasm, and he went off to you of his own accord.
18. We have sent with him the brother who is praised as an evangelist in all the churches
19. and who, what is more, was elected by the churches to be our travelling companion in this work of generosity, a work to be administered by us for the glory of the Lord and our complete satisfaction.
20. We arranged it this way so that no one should be able to make any accusation against us about this large sum we are administering.
21. And so we have been careful to do right not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of people.
22. Along with these, we have sent a brother of ours whose eagerness we have tested over and over again in many ways and who is now all the more eager because he has so much faith in you.
23. If Titus is in question -- he is my own partner and fellow-worker in your interests; and if our brothers -- they are the emissaries of the churches and the glory of Christ.
24. So then, in full view of all the churches, give proof that you love them, and that we were right to boast of you to them.