In the second message in this two-part series, “The Blessed Life,” Pastor Chris walks us through Living God’s Priorities. He reminds us that what we do on earth with what God gives us, determines how we will live in eternity.
From the ponderings of Solomon in Ecclesiastes to the declaration God makes in Malachi, we learn that there is an order to the Kingdom economy – God rewards those who richly give.
Pastor Chris shows how simple it is to Send-it Ahead with 2 questions:
1. Who is the Source?
2. Steward or Owner?
There is a third element to this approach to our giving, with some practical steps:
3. Living God’s Priorities
a. Give the first to God
b. Take care of your needs
c. For us to be generous
d. Resources to leave a legacy
e. To enjoy life and it’s pleasures
Consider these passages:
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. Proverbs 3:9–10 (ESV)
Matthew 23:23 23 You guys give tithes of your firstfruits and of the spices you put on your foods, but you have neglected justice, mercy, and faith. You ought to do that…tithe but don’t leave the other undone.
Compare the way the World orders life’s priorities with God’s way:
|God’s Plan||World’s Plan|
|1. Tithe to the Lord. 2. Take care of needs. 3. Generosity. 4. Leave a legacy. 5. Enjoy life and pleasures.||1. Enjoy life and pleasures. 2. Leave a legacy. 3. Generosity. 4. Take care of needs. 5. Tithe to the Lord|
Questions for Discussion and Application
1. Consider how we spend what God gives us. If you had 24 hours to live, how would your priorities change? What activities would you focus on?
2. What does ownership mean to you? How might ownership differ from stewardship?
3. Read Malachi 3:8-12. This is the declaration God makes to his people about His response to their obedience/disobedience in tithing. How can Christians put this truth to the test?
4. What sort of blessings follow the joyful discipline of tithing?
How would you respond to someone who says, “I suppose you are tithing only to be blessed?”
In your group prayer time and/or devotion time this week, consider affirming this giving covenant with God:
“My Giving Covenant”
1. I affirm God’s full ownership of me and everything entrusted to me.
2. I set aside the firstfruits—at least 10 percent—of every wage and gift I receive as holy and belonging exclusively to the Lord.
3. Out of the remaining treasures, God entrusts to me, I seek to make generous freewill gifts.
4. I ask God to teach me to give sacrificially to His purposes, including helping the poor and reaching the lost.
5. Recognizing that I cannot take earthly treasures from this world, I determine to lay them up as heavenly treasures—for Christ’s glory and the eternal good of others and myself.
6. I ask God to show me how to lead others to the present joy and future reward of the Treasure Principle.
Additional scripture passages from Chris’ message for sharing and reflection:
Ecclesiastes 5:10–15 (ESV) 10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 12 Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep. 13 There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, 14 and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. 15 As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand.
2 John 8 (ESV) 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for but may win a full reward.
Hebrews 11:6 (ESV) 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
2 Corinthians 8:9 (ESV) 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
Psalm 24:1 (ESV) 1 The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
Deuteronomy 8:17–18 (ESV) 17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.