When was the first time that you gave money to the church or to someone in need?
How did it feel?
We are beginning a conversation about financial generosity. We will be focusing on
the teaching of Jesus–specifically on how natural, fun, and intoxicating giving really is.
It’s our fear and anxiety that make generosity feel unnatural. Jesus teaches his
disciples that generosity is actually natural!
Last Sunday, Travis used this quote: “Generosity and giving are such an intoxicating
part of our new nature. The church has a lot of work to do in this area in terms of
renewing our mind” – John Crowder. Talk about this quote. Does your mind (or the
church’s mind) need to be renewed when it comes to generosity? Do you see generosity as intoxicating and natural, or dicult and unnatural? Explain.
Read Matthew 6:1-4. Twice Jesus says, “when you give.” That is a new way to say
it–dierent from the Old Testament. Jesus indicates that new-covenant people (his
disciples) will discover a desire to be generous. Jesus seems to understand that his
disciples are not looking for a law to keep but a life to follow – His life! When it comes to
generosity, are you looking for a law to keep or a life to emulate? Do you think the
church is looking for a law to keep or a life to follow?
Read these Old Testament verses: Leviticus 27:30, 32-33b and Leviticus 19:9-10.
These verses describe beautiful generosity in both tithes and offerings. Our first 10% is
given to God’s community as the tithe, and then we go above the tithe in an offering
of generosity to the poor. Talk about why it is beautiful and powerful to give our firsts
to God and our extra to the poor.
Jesus came not to abolish but to fulll the law. Jesus loves the beautiful principle of
tithes and offerings. Jesus doesn’t give a law or command to his disciples in the way
the Old Testament does. Take some time on this question: What did Jesus think would
motivate his disciples to give?
What unnatural thing (like fear, anxiety, or ambition) seems to be keeping you from
natural, trusting, intoxicating generosity?
Look at Matthew 6:1-4 again. Find the phrase, “do not let your left hand know what
your right hand is doing.” This phrase actually means that something is being done
automatically or naturally so that it is not forced, but flows. Practically and specifically,
what kind of natural generosity is Jesus calling you into?
Share why generosity has been a struggle, and ask for prayer for God to break the
power of that unnatural thing or thought that has kept you from wild generosity
True spiritual formation is ultimately about knowing a Person rather than keeping a law. This is what the Old Testament was pointing toward and longing for. The spiritual practice of “fixing our eyes on Jesus” as a person will allow our mind to be transformed and our heart to be renovated, which will lead to true change. As we “fixing our eyes on Jesus,” we will find that what once felt unnatural will begin to flow naturally.
Matthew 6 Psalm 114
Philippians 4 Psalm 115
Isaiah 58 Psalm 116
Luke 3:1-20 Psalm 117
2 Kings 4 Psalm 118
1 Timothy Psalm 119:1-24