Think of a time when fear or worry kept you from doing something that you really wanted to do. Describe what it feels like to look back and regret that fear and worry robbed you of that experience.
This week, we bring our conversation about “Natural Generosity” to a conclusion. We have talked about how natural, fun, and even intoxicating giving is. We will look at the one thing, according to Jesus, that keeps us from doing what we really want to do!
Worry is a very powerful emotion. Share about the last time you were deeply worried. What was going on? How do you tend to act when you’re worried? Read Matthew 6:25. Remember, Jesus is talking about generosity throughout this chapter. He is saying that worry about future provision actually keeps us from doing what is natural. Jesus is making a life-changing point. We want to be generous, but worry tends to get in the way. Do you agree? Have you experienced this? The Greek word for worry has the connotation of being strangled or choked. Worry can be overpowering. When you really want to give, what does worry look and feel like for you? When God is nudging you to be generous, what does the enemy tend to whisper in your ear?
Read Matthew 6:26. Jesus asks us to observe nature and see God’s care and provision for birds. “Your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” If we truly trusted in the provision and care of our heavenly Father, how would that impact our life when it comes to generosity? Read Matthew 6:31-32. What to eat? What to drink? What to wear? These are good questions and good things, but the world worries about them and chases after them. Jesus says you don’t have to worry and chase, because your heavenly Father knows what you need. Is it easy for you to trust in God’s care and provision, or is it dicult? Why, or why not? Share a bit. Read Matthew 6:33. Not only does God promise to provide, but Jesus says that God has a job description: Provider. We too have a job description: Seekers, first, of his kingdom. When it comes to generosity, what would it look like for you to seek first his kingdom? What do you truly want to do but are holding back from doing?
Most everyone has some fear or worry tied to openhanded generosity. Ask for the Spirit of God to break the power of worry and speak into those past stories and places where fear lodged and continues to have an impact. May we allow God to break chains and set us free!
The essence and the heart of spiritual formation might simply be seen as putting other people first. Jesus said that people would know his disciples by their love for one another. Largely, being spiritually formed is preferring others above ourselves. Generosity is a very practical way to prefer others. Find a time and a person to be generous toward this week. Notice what the Spirit of God is doing in you and in them in that moment of generosity
Matthew 6 Psalm 125
Philippians 4 Psalm 126
Isaiah 58 Psalm 127
Luke 3:1-20 Psalm 128
2 Kings 4 Psalm 129
1 Timothy 6 Psalm 130