9 There’s nothing further I could add about your efforts for God’s people in Judea. 2 I know you are ready. I bragged on you throughout Macedonia, telling them how the people in Achaia have been prepared since last year; and your passion has been contagious. 3 Still I thought it would be best to send these brothers and sisters ahead to help you finish the final details so all my bragging wouldn’t be for nothing. 4 If some of the Macedonians decide to travel with me, all of us would be more than embarrassed if we arrived and you weren’t ready to give after the way we’ve been going on about you. 5 So to help you get your previously promised gift ready, it made sense to me to ask the brothers and sisters to go on ahead so you will have all the time you need to put it together as planned and so it doesn’t look thrown together or coerced.
Giving away money is one of the hardest things believers do, especially when there are bills to pay and more expenses than income. However, helping others with their physical needs and not only their spiritual needs is a fundamental principle of Christian spirituality. Perhaps it would be easier to give our financial resources if we could turn away from our own continual consumption and live simpler lifestyles. Then there would be not only the willingness but also the ability to share God’s blessings with others.
6 But I will say this to encourage your generosity: the one who plants little harvests little, and the one who plants plenty harvests plenty. 7 Giving grows out of the heart—otherwise, you’ve reluctantly grumbled “yes” because you felt you had to or because you couldn’t say “no,” but this isn’t the way God wants it. For we know that “God loves a cheerful giver.”[a]8 God is ready to overwhelm you with more blessings than you could ever imagine so that you’ll always be taken care of in every way and you’ll have more than enough to share. 9 Remember what is written about the One who trusts in the Lord:
He scattered abroad; He gave freely to the poor; His righteousness endures throughout the ages.[b]
10 The same One who has put seed into the hands of the sower and brought bread to fill our stomachs will provide and multiply the resources you invest and produce an abundant harvest from your righteous actions. 11 You will be made rich in everything so that your generosity will spill over in every direction. Through us your generosity is at work inspiring praise and thanksgiving to God. 12 For this mission will do more than bring food and water to fellow believers in need—it will overflow in a cascade of praises and thanksgivings for our God. 13 When this mission reaches Jerusalem and meets with the approval of God’s people there, they will give glory to God because your confession of the gospel of the Anointed One led to obedient action and your generous sharing with them and with all exhibited your sincere concern. 14 Because of the extraordinary grace of God at work in you, they will pray for you and long for you. 15 Praise God for this incredible, unbelievable, indescribable gift!
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