Of course I know it is really quite superfluous for me to be writing to you about this matter of giving to fellow Christians, for I know how willing you are. Indeed I have told the Macedonians with some pride that “Achaia was ready to undertake this service twelve months ago”. Your enthusiasm has consequently been a stimulus to many of them. I am, however, sending the brothers just to make sure that our pride in you is not unjustified. For, between ourselves, it would never do if some of the Macedonians were to accompany me on my visit to you and find you unprepared for this act of generosity! We (not to speak of you) should be horribly ashamed, just because we had been so proud and confident of you. This is my reason, then, for urging the brothers to visit you before I come myself, so that they can get your promised gift ready in good time. But, having let you into my confidence, I should like it to be a spontaneous gift, and not money squeezed out of you by what I have said. All I will say is that poor sowing means a poor harvest, and generous sowing means a generous harvest.
But I am sending these men just to be sure that you really are ready, as I told them you would be, with your money all collected; I don’t want it to turn out that this time I was wrong in my boasting about you.
Now I’m sending the brothers to make sure you’re ready, as I said you would be, so my bragging won’t turn out to be just so much hot air. If some Macedonians and I happened to drop in on you and found you weren’t prepared, we’d all be pretty red-faced—you and us—for acting so sure of ourselves. So to make sure there will be no slipup, I’ve recruited these brothers as an advance team to get you and your promised offering all ready before I get there. I want you to have all the time you need to make this offering in your own way. I don’t want anything forced or hurried at the last minute.
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