Verse 1 – Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:
Verse 2 – that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberty.
The church in Macedonia were in poverty themselves, but yet they gave in abundance out of their poverty. The gift is measured by what it cost you. It seems like those which have the least to give, give the most.
Verse 3 – For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing,
Verse 4 – imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
Verse 5 – And this they did, not as we had hoped, but first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.
Verse 6 – So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.
It’s not going to do any good to just give money without first giving yourself to God.
Verse 7 – But as you abound in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us – see that you abound in grace also.
Paul tells the Corinthians that they are abounding in everything including their giving. When love is sincere, it will cause you to give.
Verse 8 – I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others.
Verse 9 – For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
Verse 10 – And in this I give my advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;
The giving had been interrupted by the divisions within the church at Corinth. Paul was telling them to “Get back to what they were doing before they started quarreling!”
Verse 11 – but now you also must complete the doing of it, that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.
The need to help the poor was still there. They were not released from their obligation to give just because they had paused a while.
Verse 12 – For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
A willing heart in giving is acceptable to God, whether large or small. However, giving grudgingly, selfishly, or out of obligation, is a waste of time. Always keep this in mind when giving: If God has given you much, then give much. He doesn’t bless us for us to be hoarders.
Verse 13 – For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened;
Verse 14 – but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack – that there may be equality.
Verse 15 – As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
This quotation comes from Exodus 16:18, when the Israelites gathered their daily manna. The rich Christians at Corinth should give freely to the poor brethren. They had gathered more wealth than was necessary for their families.
The one who gathered much were to give much, therefore having nothing left. And the one’s who gathered little, did not go without. Paul is talking about giving to the sick, disabled, or too old to gather. He’s not taking about those who are able to work but won’t!
Verse 16 – But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus.
Verse 17 – For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord.
Verse 18 – And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches,
This brother is not named, but it may have been Luke.
Verse 19 – and not only that but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind,
Verse 20 – avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us –
Verse 21 – providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
Paul explained that by these three traveling together, there could be no suspicions and that the gift would be handled honestly.
verse 22 – And we have sent with them our brother whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we have in you.
Verse 23 – If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.
Verse 24 – Therefore show to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.
We as Christians, are to have a heart for the needs of others. Maybe more churches ought to preach on this chapter for the sake of letting people know that the offerings and gifts collected are not just for themselves.
One time, I needed help and went to my church pastors and asked for help. Did I get it? Nope! The answer I got was, “If we do that for you, it will open a can of worms, and we will have to do it for everyone else who asks. That was horrible! Here’s the result though: Find a loving and giving church to attend that cares for the welfare of others to give your gifts to. Watch closely whom you support.