Give each group member a sheet of paper and a pen. Tell them they have exactly two minutes to write as many things they can think of that they possess. After the two minutes, instruct group members to put a star next to each item that belongs to them and to cross off each item that belongs to God. (Hint: Everyone should cross off all items on their lists because everything belongs to the Lord.)
Have group members share their thoughts on the following two questions: Why do you think God has entrusted you with so much (compared to much of the world)? How might God want you to use those items on your list?
Give each group member a piece of paper and a pen. Have them draw a line down the middle of their page. On the left side, jot down the things they have purchased for themselves or their families during the past week or month. On the right side, record the things they have bought or given to others during the past week or month. These lists can be kept private and don’t need to be shared.
Have group members reflect on their lists and answer the following questions: How do you feel about your balance of giving to others versus receiving for yourself? What kinds of thoughts usually go through your mind when you choose to purchase something? What does your current list or spending habits say about the state of your heart regarding possessions?
1. We all have possessions. Read 1 Chronicles 29:11-12, 14, and 16. Who do those possessions belong to? How can you tell if you truly believe what you have is from the Lord, and ultimately belongs to Him?
(Intent: These verses describe everything as coming from God and are ultimately His. Contrast the difference between a cultural (carnal) mindset and a Biblical (spiritual) mindset. Consider the gut reaction of your heart when you give – is there rejoicing or dejection?)
2. How has the Lord given to you?
(Intent: Examples may include talents, time, possessions, finances, natural abilities, spiritual gifts, and relationships.)
3. In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus tells a parable comparing the hearts of two different men. a) What were the motives of the Pharisee in doing the things he listed? b) How do we get the right motive? See Romans 5:5.
(Intent: The Pharisee was basing his righteousness on the Law and his self-assessment, instead of God’s. He is also comparing himself to others who he thinks are below his status. In contrast, our motivation is to be God’s love poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.)
4. Read 1 Chronicles 29:3, 6, 9, 17, and 2 Corinthians 9:7. How are we to give?
(Intent: Willingly, cheerfully, and from the heart. Also see 2 Corinthians 8:12 – generosity out of our abundance, not what we don’t have.)
5. Reread 1 Chronicles 29:3 and Matthew 6:1-4. How can you be a good example to others in giving, yet not be a showoff?
(Intent: this may involve some good interaction and discussion. Have the group focus on heart issues rather than principles or externals.)
6. Share a time when someone’s giving of money, time, or effort encouraged you.
7. a) Describe a time when your heart rejoiced in giving to another. b) Share when you've been part of a group that rejoiced over corporately blessing others.
8. How do you decide where to give your money, time, effort, etc.?
9. Do you prefer to plan regular giving or to give when you discover a specific need? Should you do both, and if so, how?
Ask the Lord to reveal the things that you are selfishly hoarding. This could be time, money, effort, possessions, etc. Ask Him to place others in your path this week that can use some of those resources that you are accumulating for yourself.