In this new, two-part series, “The Blessed Life,” Pastor Chris shares the principles of faithfulness, gratefulness, and generosity. Laying a foundation from Jesus’ lesson in Luke 16:10-13, “If you are faithful in very little, you will be faithful in much,…if you are dishonest in very little, you will be dishonest in much,” Chris leads us through multiple verses in Old and New Testaments that reinforce the principles Jesus taught. We learn that we are “born generous when we are born-again,” and that an opposing force is at work in our flesh: selfishness.
Jesus was oh, so clear with His teaching on money and possessions. In the bible it is recorded that His words on this topic cover approximately 2,000 verses, that’s 15% of all that He spoke while on earth, and that 16 of His 38 parables deal with material goods and financial gain. Christ sums this up in the Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 6:21 – “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Pastor Chris lays out four-points of biblical truth that will help us curb our stingy tendencies and foster a generous lifestyle:
1. Deal with a Selfish Heart
2. Deal with a Grieving Heart
3. Develop a Generous Heart
4. Develop a Grateful Heart
He also shares some wisdom from those who’ve walked a journey of generosity:
The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful giving, by Randy Alcorn – “As thunder follows lightning, giving follows grace.”
Martin Luther – “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, by A. J. Jacobs – “As I gave away money, I think I might have felt God’s pleasure. I know: I’m an agnostic. But, still, I feel His pleasure. I feel like I’m doing something that I should have been doing all my life.”
Questions for Discussion
1. Why does the Lord say, “give?” Why do you suppose He needs us to give to Him (He already owns all-things!)?
2. In what ways do you see Christians struggle with giving? Comfort? Security?
How does owning stuff and having money reveal our “Priorities, Loyalties, and Affections?”
3. When was a time that you gave generously? What led up to that event and how did you feel after? How did you see the hand-of-God at work in your expression of generosity?
4. Read 1 Timothy 6:8-10. What is a believer’s attitude supposed to be in having possessions and money? How do selfishness and loss (sacrificial giving) play a part in God’s kingdom economy?
Questions for Application
1. How can we develop a pattern of giving – make it a lifestyle?
2. What is the Holy Spirit revealing to you about the condition of your heart? What do you need to “deal with” and what do you need to “develop?”
Additional scripture passages from Chris’ message for sharing and reflection:
Proverbs 11:24-25 – “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
Proverbs 14:21 – “…blessed are those who help the poor.”
Proverbs 22:9 – “Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.”
Acts 20:35 – “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Deuteronomy 15:7 (instructions on the Year of Jubilee) – “…do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward (the poor among you). Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need.”
James 3:16 – “…wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.”