8We want you to know, brothers and sisters,* about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; 2for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, 4begging us earnestly for the privilege* of sharing in this ministry to the saints 5and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, 6so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking* among you. 7Now as you excel in everythingin faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you*so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.*
8 I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others.
9For you know the generous act* of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
10And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something
11now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means.
12For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one hasnot according to what one does not have.
13I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between
14your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance.
15As it is written,
The one who had much did not have too much,
and the one who had little did not have too little.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011