· What is your idea of generosity?
· What example of generosity have you seen recently?
· What do you think of when you think of someone being “blessed”?
· Did any of the stats that Cal shared surprise You?
June 2007 (stats on 2006)-1.7% of gross domestic product [$295 billion] (#2-Great Britian-.73%) Up from 2005.
April 1 issue of National Review notes that the working poor give on average of 4-5% of their income to charitable orgs. The wealthy give 3-4%. Both are higher than the middle class.
3 REASONS WHY GIVING BEATS GETTING.
I. Giving beats getting because of the bounty giving generates to meet needs.
- Can you share an example of God taking a little that is given and using to meet a great need?
- What does 2 Corinthians 8:12 say about this?
II. GIVING BEATS GETTING BECAUSE OF THE BLESSING GIVING COMMUNICATES TO THE LORD.
- How does 2 Corinthians 9:7, ("…for God loves a cheerful giver.") say that God is blessed by our giving?
- How does our giving cause others to give thank to God? (2 Cor 9:12-13)
- Mark 12:41-44-what did Jesus notice about those who gave?
III. GIVING BEATS GETTING BECAUSE OF THE BENEFITS GIVING ACTIVATES FOR THE GIVER.
A. Giving develops Christlikeness.
· What do the following verses say about God & giving?
§ John 3:16
§ 2 Corinthians 8:9
§ I Chron. 29:14,
· React to the quote by Paul Powell, "Stewardship is not the church’s plan for raising money. It is God’s plan for developing people."
B. Giving draws me nearer to God.
· Matt. 6:21, ("Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.") say that giving does that?
C. Giving distances me from materialism.
· How would you define materialist?
· How does giving minimize materialism?
· What does I Timothy 6:17-19, say about the miracle of giving?
D. Giving deeds me personal returns.
How is the truth that God blesses financial stability seen the in both the Old and New Testaments?
Can you share exzamples of the truth that you cannot out give God?
Our return includes eternal reward.
· Matthew 6:19-20,
· Paul said in I Timothy 6:18-19,
E. Giving deepens my happiness.
We're convinced that unless we're happy our life isn't going very well. And Jesus says, "Blessed," he uses the word, markarios, and that word can and does mean happy but it goes way beyond that. It means a sense of settled-ness, or centered-ness, or peace; a deep-seated joy that isn't based on circumstance but rather based on perspective on our circumstances. It's the sense that regardless of what may be going on around us, there can be joy in our lives, there can be peace that is much deeper than our circumstances. And that is a major clash with how most of us see life.
The word Jesus used to describe them is the Greek word makarios, which is most commonly translated as "blessed." More than likely, that's the word used in your translation. However, the word has become so layered with religious sentiments that it's lost some of its straightforward quality. Some translations have chosen the word "happy" as a more basic translation of the word. I prefer Eugene Peterson's rendition: "Lucky." The idea here is that the outcast has received something completely out of the blue; something not deserved through the doing of great works. It just falls into your lap. How lucky.
I know that some of us might have trouble with the word "lucky" because we believe it cuts God out of the equation -- as if the good things that come our way are random in origin. However, the word lucky wasn't always used this way. In pre-Shakespearian times, William Tyndale translated the Old Testament "blessed" as "holy luck." The word itself is related to words like fortune, destiny, and happenstance. The idea is that a lucky person has come upon something marvelous they didn't expect. Ah, this fits with the context of the Beatitudes. Jesus described people who had bad luck, misfortune, and tough times. And Jesus said to these: "It's just the opposite of what you've been told. Your unfortunate circumstances aren't the final word because of grace. How fortunate you really are because God sees and loves you in the midst of your brokenness."
What step can you take this week to review and improve your financial support of the Lord's work?
In what ways besides giving money can you be generous to others in the name of Christ this week?
How can you give to others this week?
How can joy lead to generosity, even when a person lives in poverty?
How are you challenged by Paul's discussion of generosity?