that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.
For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave
begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints,
not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.
So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well.
But just as you excel in everything, in faith, speaking, knowledge, and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see
that you also excel in this gracious work.
I am not saying this
as a command, but as proving, through the earnestness of others, the sincerity of your love as well.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
I give my
opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this,
but also to desire to do it.
But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was
the willingness to desire it, so there may be
also the completion of it by your ability.
For if the willingness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person
has, not according to what he does not have.
is not for the relief of others and
for your hardship, but by way of equality—
at this present time your abundance will serve as assistance
for their need, so that their abundance also may serve as assistance
for your need, so that there may be equality;
as it is written: 'THE ONE WHO had gathered
much did not have too much, AND THE ONE WHO had gathered
little did not have too little.'
But thanks be to God who puts the same earnestness in your behalf in the heart of Titus.
For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest, he has gone to you of his own accord.
We have sent along with him the brother whose fame in the things of
the gospel has spread
through all the churches;
and not only that,
but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work, which is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself, and to show
taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this generous gift;