3 Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready; 4 lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting. 5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.
Yet I have sent the brethren,
The “brethren” here are Titus and the two unnamed brothers. These men were an advance delegation before Paul arrived.
lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect,
Paul had boasted to the Macedonians how the Corinthians were willing to give, but the latter had not yet come through. There was a danger that the apostle’s affirmation about the Corinthians would be unfounded or an empty boast.
that, as I said, you may be ready;
Paul gave his word that the Corinthians were ready to contribute to the Jerusalem church. They told him that they were prepared to provide on his previous visit.
lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared,
The occasion here is when Pau would visit the Corinthians for the third time (2 Co 13:1).
we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting.
The Corinthian failure to give was embarrassing to the apostle. It would appear to the Macedonians that he was not truthful in what he related about the Corinthians. Paul’s reputation was at stake.
Therefore [so] I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time,
To avoid the possibility of Paul embarrassing himself, he sent Titus and the two brothers ahead of time to Corinth.
and prepare your generous gift beforehand,
This would allow the Corinthians to get their financial situation in order. When the apostle would arrive, he would not need to do the collecting of the offering himself.
which you had previously promised,
Paul reminds the Corinthians of their previous promise.
that it may be ready as a matter of generosity
All giving should be a response to God’s grace.
and not as a grudging obligation.
The opposite of “generosity” of the previous clause is “grudging obligation.” A grudging person who does not want to give but give from outside pressure. This person wants to keep what he has; he is covetous or greedy.
The word “grudging” can carry the idea of greediness (Ro 1:29; Eph 5:3; Col 3:5; 1 Th 2:5; 2 Pe 2:3, 14). Covetousness can betray the greed of the giver.
Biblical giving should not come from a grudging attitude.
The attitude of offering a gift to the Lord is foundational to biblical giving. We give generously because it pleases the Lord. We do not announce our generous giving if it is personal. It is biblical to keep one’s promises and responsibilities. Generous giving influences others to contribute to the cause of Christ.