Although they have been tested by great ·troubles [trials; tribulation] ·and are very poor, they gave much because of their great joy [L their deep poverty and abundant joy overflowed into rich generosity].
Now, my brothers, we must tell you about the grace that God had given to the Macedonian churches. Somehow, in most difficult circumstances, their joy and the fact of being down to their last penny themselves, produced a magnificent concern for other people. I can guarantee that they were willing to give to the limit of their means, yes and beyond their means, without the slightest urging from me or anyone else. In fact they simply begged us to accept their gifts and so let them share the honours of supporting their brothers in Christ. Nor was their gift, as I must confess I had expected, a mere cash payment. Instead they made a complete dedication of themselves first to the Lord and then to us, as God’s appointed ministers.
Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could—far more than they could afford!—pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians.
They have been sorely tested by suffering. But the abundance of grace which was given to them, and the depths of poverty they have endured, have overflowed in a wealth of sincere generosity on their part.
That during a great ordeal of tzoros, their abundant simcha and the extreme depth of their oni (poverty) abounded to the osher (riches) of their generosity [SHEMOT 36:5; Pp 1:29-30; 1Th 1:6; 2:14; 3:3 4];
that in much assaying of tribulation, the plenty of the joy of them was [the abundance, or plenty, of the joy of them was], and the highest poverty of them was plenteous into the riches of the simpleness of them.
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