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2Corinthians  ◦   Chapter 8

1Brothers and sisters, we are excited to tell you how God's Remedy has infused the Macedonian churches.2Even though they have suffered terrible hardship, and despite their extreme poverty, they have given an incredible offering.3They gave beyond what I thought they could possibly afford, and we didn't even pass a collection plate.4They begged us to take this offering, counting it a privilege to help those working to spread God's Remedy throughout Judea.5This spontaneous gift was completely unexpected, but they had already given their hearts to the Lord, and when we arrived–in keeping with God's kingdom of love–gave their hearts to us also.6So we asked Titus, who had already been working with you, to make you aware of this opportunity to share in the blessing of giving to support the work in Judea.7Just as you already do so many things well–trust God, speak effectively, know God's word and methods–then with sincere hearts and love for us, excel at being a conduit of God's grace as you give to others.

8This is not a command, for love cannot be commanded. I want to stretch and expand your love in response to the witness of the Macedonians,9for you know the absolute generosity of our Lord Jesus Christ: Even though he was rich in all things, yet for your need he gave up everything and became empty–nothing!–so that you, through what he achieved when he emptied himself, may be restored to eternal riches.

10Last year you were not only the first to give, but the first to have hearts transformed from selfishness to love, so my advice is simple:11Continue applying to your lives God's method of selfless giving, and finish what you started last year–giving what you are able.12God knows your hearts, and it is the willingness of heart that matters. Every gift from a willing heart is pleasing to God, no matter the size; so don't be discouraged if you don't have more to give than you do.

13We are not trying to enrich others while impoverishing you, but trying to put God’s design law of love into action and thus bring equilibrium and healthiness to all.14Presently you have plenty and can relieve the suffering of those who are in need, but later, when you are in need, their abundance will provide for you. Then none will suffer.15As it is written, "Those who had the most did not hoard it, and those who had the least did not go without."

16I am so thankful to God who filled the heart of Titus with the same love I have for you.17Titus was so happy with our request that he can hardly wait to see you, and has planned the trip himself.18We are sending with Titus a friend who all the churches cherish because he is so effective in spreading the Remedy.19Additionally, the churches chose him to go with us as we spread the Remedy and use the gifts given to honor the Lord by eagerly helping those in need.20We are being transparent with the use of these donated funds in order to avoid any false allegation or criticism.21We are very careful to do what is right — not just before God, but so that others will know the principles by which we live.

22We are also sending a friend who is highly energized for God's cause, and who is even more excited because of his certainty about your healing.23Titus works with me and represents my ministry; the others are coming on behalf of the churches in honor to Christ,24so be sure to demonstrate to them God's love in action, and show them why we are so proud of you–then the churches will know it for themselves.