ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 170


Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such
concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to
see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that
you have done everything necessary to make things right. My purpose,
then, was not to write about who did the wrong or who was wronged.
I wrote to you so that in the sight of God you could see for yourselves how
loyal you are to us. We have been greatly encouraged by this.
In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to
see how happy Titus was about the way all of you welcomed him and set
his mind at ease. I had told him how proud I was of you—and you didn’t
disappoint me. I have always told you the truth, and now my boasting to
Titus has also proved true! Now he cares for you more than ever when
he remembers the way all of you obeyed him and welcomed him with
such fear and deep respect. I am very happy now because I have complete
confidence in you.
Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested
by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with
abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.
For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far
more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and
again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.
They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give
themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.
So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to
return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. Since you
excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in
this gracious act of giving.
I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your
love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.
You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was
rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could
make you rich.
Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started
a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were
the first to begin doing it. Now you should finish what you started. Let the
eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving.
Give in proportion to what you have. Whatever you give is acceptable if
you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you

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