1I don’t need to write to you about giving to the Lord’s people. 2 I know how much you want to help. I have been bragging about it to the people in Macedonia. I have been telling them that since last year you who live in Achaia were ready to give. You are so excited that it has stirred up most of them to take action. 3 But I am sending the brothers. Then our bragging about you in this matter will have a good reason. You will be ready, just as I said you would be. 4 Suppose people from Macedonia come with me and find out that you are not prepared. Then we, as well as you, would be ashamed of being so certain. 5 So I thought I should try to get the brothers to visit you ahead of time. They will finish the plans for the large gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a gift freely given. It will not be given by force.
Paul’s Advice to Give Freely
6 Here is something to remember. The one who plants only a little will gather only a little. And the one who plants a lot will gather a lot. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give. You shouldn’t give if you don’t want to. You shouldn’t give because you are forced to. God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to shower all kinds of blessings on you. So in all things and at all times you will have everything you need. You will do more and more good works. 9 It is written,
“They have spread their gifts around to poor people.
Their good works continue forever.” (Psalm 112:9)
10 God supplies seed for the person who plants. He supplies bread for food. God will also supply and increase the amount of your seed. He will increase the results of your good works. 11 You will be made rich in every way. Then you can always give freely. We will take your many gifts to the people who need them. And they will give thanks to God.
12 Your gifts meet the needs of the Lord’s people. And that’s not all. Your gifts also cause many people to thank God. 13 You have shown yourselves to be worthy by what you have given. So other people will praise God because you obey him. That proves that you really believe the good news about Christ. They will also praise God because you share freely with them and with everyone else. 14 Their hearts will be filled with love for you when they pray for you. God has given you grace that is better than anything. 15 Let us give thanks to God for his gift. It is so great that no one can tell how wonderful it really is!