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Encouragement to Be Generous


We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; 2for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, 4begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints— 5and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, 6so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you. 7Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

8 I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. 9For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something— 11now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. 12For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. 13I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between 14your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. 15As it is written,

“The one who had much did not have too much,

and the one who had little did not have too little.”

Commendation of Titus

16 But thanks be to God who put in the heart of Titus the same eagerness for you that I myself have. 17For he not only accepted our appeal, but since he is more eager than ever, he is going to you of his own accord. 18With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his proclaiming the good news; 19and not only that, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us while we are administering this generous undertaking for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our goodwill. 20We intend that no one should blame us about this generous gift that we are administering, 21for we intend to do what is right not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of others. 22And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found eager in many matters, but who is now more eager than ever because of his great confidence in you. 23As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker in your service; as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24Therefore openly before the churches, show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you.

20. Avoiding this, 694694     The original word, στελλόμενοι, sometimes signifies the furling or altering of the sails of a ship, to change her course, that she may avoid rocks, or other dangers lying in her way. Here it is used in a metaphorical sense for taking care, that no one should find fault with the Apostle, as unfaithful in the management of the collections.” — M’Knight. The verb is employed in substantially the same sense by Plutarch: οἱ κατὰ ψυχὴν χειμῶνες βαρύτεροι στείλασθαι τὸν ἄνθρωπον οὐκ ἐω̑ντες οὐδὲ ἐπιστὢσαι τεταραγμένον τὸν λογισμὸν —”The tempests of the mind are more severe — not allowing a man to shift his course, or to calm down troubled reason.” — (Plut. tom. 2 p. 501.) — Ed. that no one Lest any one should think, that the Churches had an unfavorable opinion of Paul, as if it had been from distrusting his integrity that they had associated partners with him, as persons that are suspected are wont to have guards set over them, he declares that he had been the adviser of this measure, with the view of providing against calumnies. Here some one will ask, “Would any one have been so impudent, as to venture to defame with even the slightest suspicion the man, whose fidelity must have been, in all quarters, beyond every surmise?” I answer, Who is there that will be exempt from Satan’s bite, when even Christ himself was not spared by them? Behold, Christ is exposed to the reproaches 695695     “Aux reproches et calomnies;” — “To the reproaches and calumnies.” of the wicked, and shall his servants be in safety? (Matthew 10:25.) Nay rather, the more upright a person is, in that proportion does Satan assail him by every kind of contrivance, if he can by any means shake his credit, for there would arise from this a much greater occasion of stumbling. 696696     “Car le scandale qui procederoit de la, seroit beaucoup plus grand que si cela estoit aduenu a vn autre;” — “For the offense that would arise from that would be much greater than if this had happened to another.” Hence the higher the station in which we are placed, we must so much the more carefully imitate Paul’s circumspection and modesty. He was not so lifted up, as not to be under control equally with any individual of the flock. 697697     “Il n’estoit point si arrogant, qu’il ne voulust bien estre admoneste et censure aussi bien que le plus petit de la bande;” — “He was not so arrogant, as not to be quite willing to be admonished and censured equally with the humblest of the band.” He was not so self-complacent, as to think it beneath his station to provide against calumnies. Hence he prudently shunned dangers, and used great care not to furnish any wicked person with a handle against him. And, certainly, nothing is more apt to give rise to unfavorable surmises, than the management of public money.

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