The Feelings of Generosity
Have each member think of a time when they gave very generously to someone or something. The situation does not have to involve giving money. It might include giving time, resources, gifts/talents, etc. Have them relive that memory in their minds and focus on how they felt before, during, and after. Then, without sharing the specifics of the experience, have people call out words to describe their feelings. (Examples: joy, hesitation, peace, uncertainty, nervousness, or happiness.) Discuss: In those situations where you gave generously, did you find yourself blessed by the experience?
1. Read Proverbs 11:24-26, Luke 6:38, and Proverbs 3:9-10. How does it work that someone who gives, receives more? In what areas of life does this happen? Also consider 1 Timothy 6:17-19. (Intent: The first three passages relate to this present life and 1 Timothy 6:17-19 includes a view that is directed toward the next life.)
2. a) Describe a situation you have observed where someone received more than they gave. b) How about a situation where someone was stingy and still lost?
3. What process might you use to discover and prioritize opportunities to give money, time, abilities, etc.? (Intent: Priorities should be set through prayer and should express the heart of Christ. Consider how the opportunities are likely to expand God’s Kingdom or fulfill another commandment in Scripture. When giving to a cause or ministry, it is wise to consider the trustworthiness and effectiveness of the recipient. Consider 1Timothy 6:18 “…be rich in good deeds”, John 3:21 “…deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God”, Acts 9:36 “…deeds of kindness and charity…” Acts 26:20 “…repent and turn to God performing deeds appropriate to repentance”, Gal. 5:22-24, Fruit of the Spirit.)
4. Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-7. What are some aspects of a healthy, generous church? (Intent: The Macedonian church is held up as an example to the Corinthian church of what a generous church looks like. The full context of the passage goes through verse 20.)
5. Read Malachi 3:7-11. Of all the decrees the Israelites turned away from, the Lord focuses on tithes and offerings. Why? (Intent: The Lord is primarily concerned about His people having a faithful heart and trusting in His promises.)
6. What do you think about the Cultivate campaign? (Intent: Use this question to assess the group’s temperature; are they encouraged or discouraged by the campaign? Why?)
7. Reflect on this week’s topic and passages. As you review your schedule, bank account, and your interests (which may include books, socializing, ministry, entertainment, etc.), what percentage of each of these areas is focused on expanding God’s kingdom?
8. a) Refer to question 7. What are the weak areas that you need to re-prioritize, putting the Lord first? b) Commit to your new prioritized list with a faithful, trusting heart and see how God will bless your obedience.
“Lord, make me into a trustworthy money manager. Show me that whoever can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much.”
Pray this prayer modeled after Luke 16:10 for the remainder of this week. Look for everyday ways you can be faithful with little (e.g., make coffee at home and forego a coffee shop).