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2 Corinthians 8:1–9:15

APPEAL TO COMPLETE THE COLLECTION

We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that was given to the churchesc of Macedonia:d During a severe trial brought about by affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.e I can testify that, according to their ability and even beyond their ability, of their own accord, they begged us earnestly for the privilege of sharingf in the ministry to the saints, and not just as we had hoped. Instead, they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us by God’s will.g So we urged Titus that just as he had begun, so he should also complete among you this act of grace.

Now as you excel in everything—in faith, speech, knowledge,h and in all diligence, and in your love for usA—excel also in this act of grace. I am not saying this as a command. Rather, by means of the diligence of others, I am testing the genuineness of your love. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though he was rich,i for your sake he became poor,j so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10 And in this matter I am giving advice because it is profitable for you, who began last year not only to do something but also to want to do it.k 11 Now also finish the task, so that just as there was an eager desire, there may also be a completion, according to what you have. 12 For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.l 13 It is not that there should be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality.B 14 At the present time your surplus is available for their need, so that their abundance may in turn meet your need, in order that there may be equality. 15 As it is written: The person who had much did not have too much, and the person who had little did not have too little.C,m

ADMINISTRATION OF THE COLLECTION

16 Thanks be to God, who put the same concern for you into the heart of Titus. 17 For he welcomed our appeal and, being very diligent, went out to you by his own choice. 18 We have sent with him the brothern who is praised among all the churches for his gospel ministry.D 19 And not only that, but he was also appointed by the churches to accompany us with this gracious gift that we are administering for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. 20 We are taking this precaution so that no one will criticize us about this large sum that we are administering. 21 Indeed, we are giving careful thoughto to do what is right,p not only before the Lord but also before people. 22 We have also sent with them our brother. We have often tested him in many circumstances and found him to be diligent—and now even more diligent because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partnerq and coworkerr for you; as for our brothers, they are the messengerss of the churches, the glory of Christ.t 24 Therefore, show them proof before the churches of your love and of our boastingu about you.

MOTIVATIONS FOR GIVING

Now concerning the ministry to the saints, it is unnecessary for me to write to you. For I know your eagerness, and I boast about you to the Macedonians,v “Achaiaw has been ready since last year,” and your zealx has stirred up most of them.y But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you in this matter would not prove empty, and so that you would be ready just as I said. Otherwise, if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we, not to mention you, would be put to shame in that situation.E Therefore I considered it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance the generous giftz you promised, so that it will be ready as a gift and not as an extortion.aa

The point is this:A The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God lovesa a cheerful giver. And God is ableb to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. As it is written:

He distributed freely;c

he gave to the poor;

his righteousness endures forever.B,d

10 Now the one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will also provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.e 11 You will be enrichedf in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. 12 For the ministry of this serviceg is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the proof provided by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedient confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosityh in sharing with them and with everyone. 14 And as they pray on your behalf, they will have deep affection for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

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