Sunday, November 20th
One of our top fears, according to Gallup and other polls, is losing everything. Most of us are wealthier than 6 billion people and yet it’s never enough. We still fear and don’t feel rich when in fact we are. Why is it never enough? It’s ironic. We fear God wants to take from us, when in fact God wants to make us rich — truly rich. But what is truly rich?
Work through the following Scriptures and questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group or friends and family to talk through what you’re learning!
- How do you define generosity? Describe a time when you were the recipient of the generosity of another.
- What feelings does the topic of finances stir in you? Why do you think that is? When you think of becoming a more generous person, does it appeal to you or does it frighten you?
- Read Ecclesiastes 5:10. What evidence have you observed in your own life, or someone close to you, that fear of financial failure is more of an attitude than an amount?
- Read 1 Chronicles 29:14. What thoughts come to your mind based on the statement that God really owns everything? Are there any resulting actions you might envision in view of this fact?
- Read Ecclesiastes 5:19. When you receive a gift what’s typically your response? What are things we can do to help maintain the perspective that our wealth and possessions are a gift from God?
- What are characteristics you’ve observed of people you have known to be generous? What are some specific ways you can be generous in the coming weeks?
- Read Malachi 3:10. Have you ever experienced the blessing described in this verse? What is one thing you could do this week to grow in generosity by “testing” God and seeing how He blesses you back?
Ecclesiastes 5:10 — “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.”
1 Chronicles 29:14 — “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.”
Ecclesiastes 5:19 — “Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil — this is a gift of God.”
Malachi 3:10 — “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
Dig deeper into Jesus’ perspective on finances and generosity, by looking at the following encounters he had.
A Story Jesus Told about a Rich Fool
Luke 12:13-21 — Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
Jesus Interacts with a Rich Religious Leader
Luke 18:18-30 — Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’” The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich. When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.” “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”
Jesus Interacts with a Rich Tax Collector
Luke 19:1-10 — Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
SPIRITUAL OUTCOMES — Financial Generosity
Learn more about God’s perspective on finances by working through the FINANCIAL GENEROSITY outcome.