Help for the poor people at Jerusalem
1 My Christian friends, let me tell you about the believers in the churches in Macedonia. God has been very kind to them. 2 They have had bad troubles, but they continued to be very happy. As a result, they gave a lot of money to other people. They themselves are very poor, but they still helped other people a lot. 3 Let me tell you this. They gave as much money as they were able to give. Then they gave even more than that! They gave it because they wanted to. 4 They wanted the chance to help God's people. That would make them happy. So they asked us many times to help them to do this. 5 They did more than we had even hoped for! First, they gave themselves to the Lord. Then they also gave themselves to us. They did that because God wanted them to do it.
6 Because of that, we asked Titus to continue to help you. He is the person who helped you to start giving money. So he will help you to finish this good work. 7 You have so much of everything! You trust God very well. You speak well. You know everything. You want to do many good things. You love us even more than we love you! So also do the best that you can as you give money to help others.
8 I am not telling you that you must do this. I have told you how much other believers want to give their money. In that way, I want to see if you really love other people who need your help. 9 You know that our Lord Jesus Christ is very kind. He was rich, but he made himself poor to help you. So then, because he became poor, you could become rich.
8:9In heaven, Jesus had everything. When he came to the earth, he left all that he had with God in heaven. He lived as a poor person on the earth. Because he did what God wanted, we become rich if we believe in him. We have a new life and we share in all the good things of heaven. See Philippians 2:6-11.
10 This is what I think you should do. Last year, you were the first people to give money. You really wanted to do that. So the best thing for you is to finish what you started to do. 11 Now finish the work. When you started, you wanted very much to do it. Now you should want just as much to finish it. You should give what you are able to give. 12 If you really want to give, then God will accept your gift. God does not want you to give more than you are able to give. He will be happy about what you can give.
13 My purpose is not to bring trouble to you. You should not have pain while other people have plenty. Instead, both you and they should have enough. 14 At this time, you yourselves have plenty. So you are able to give to those people who do not have enough. One day, things may change. They may have plenty, and you may not have enough. Then they can give money to help you. In that way, you will all have enough when you need it. 15 It says this in the Bible:
‘The person who picked up a lot did not have too much.
And the person who picked up a small amount also had enough.’
8:15See Exodus 16:18. When the Israelite people were in the wilderness, God gave them manna for their food. They had to go out and pick up the manna each day. Each family had enough for them to eat that day. God always gave them just the right amount.