Bible Study Lesson One

Living Generously

Lesson One: Discussion Questions

 

Please watch the "FIRST" and "Teaching Moment" videos prior to beginning the study.

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OPENING QUESTION

 1. How has someone else’s generosity affected you? How did it encourage

you to live more generously?

FOCUS

In the Old Testament, God had very specific rules regarding sacrifices and offerings made to Him. Leviticus addresses these offerings in detail: burnt offerings, meal offerings, sin offerings, peace offerings, the list goes on and on.

 

When Jesus became our perfect sacrifice on the cross, this system was forever changed. As we look in the New Testament for guidelines on giving, we no longer find rules about 2-year-old rams and grain cakes made with oil. Instead we see teaching that focuses on our hearts. Luke 10:27 says, “He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’” 2 Corinthians tells us that God loves a cheerful giver and we are not to give under compulsion. What a difference! From a list of specific do’s and don’ts to a call to live a life of generosity.

These next five sessions are not about rules for giving. They aren’t going to give you a checklist or a dollar amount. This study is not about our wallets, but our hearts.

THOUGHTS

In the film we watched for this week, one of the main characters, Frank, gave sparingly out of his abundance. His wife Cassie gave her time and resources to serve a missionary family. The gardener “Re” (pronounced “Ray”) gave sacrificially of his time and used his gifts to communicate truth. But Frank’s son Evan – well, Evan gave his all. He gave his favorite toy, one that he couldn’t just run down to the store and replace. He saw a need, an opportunity to bless someone, an opportunity to give the “best sheep,” and he simply did it.

Frank missed this child-like faith. He was giving his first and his best – but where was it going?

At the beginning of the film, Frank had a conversation with his financial planner, Allan. At Frank’s request, Allan had put together a plan to hit a “finish line” that would cover every expense for the rest of his life. What was Frank’s response? “Double it.”

Fiscal responsibility is important – in fact the Bible is filled with great wisdom on working hard, saving money – all the things that Frank was, at the core, trying to do. BUT, in his drive to provide and protect, Frank had lost that child-like faith. He had forgotten, or ignored, that God asks for our first and best… and promises that He’ll bless the rest.

Frank had forgotten that it is God who gives to us so that we can bless others.

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?

 1. In this week’s film, Frank has his financial planner Allan take the net present value of everything he and his family will need and multiply it by 2. What do you think causes Frank to think this way? How has this mindset affected you when it comes to your resources?

 2. Before we go any further let’s examine something important. When you look at Frank, do you see someone with far more to give than you?

What about Re who only had his service to offer? Or Evan?

AN ATTITUDE OF THE HEART.

1. Which of these is the hardest for you to give up?

• Your time

• Your money

• Your stuff

• Your space

 2. When you face the opportunity to give or serve do you usually default to Re’s way of thinking or Frank’s? What causes that response?

THE BIBLE SAYS

He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 New Revised Standard Version NRSV)

 3. How, according to Luke 10:27, is true love defined? If you truly love in this way, how would that affect your heart in the area of giving?

The Bible says

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.(John 3:16King James Version KJV)

 

4. Is our problem with giving all about the money?

 

 5. What are your sheep? What’s your “good sheep” and what’s your

“stinky sheep”?

 

FIRST AND BEST

 1. Read 2 Samuel 24:18-25. How did David’s attitude toward giving affect his sacrifice? How can you apply this to your own giving?

 

CLOSING THOUGHTS

“What are your sheep?”

Evan had an airplane, Frank had watches and Re had his service. We all have something to give: time, gifts, our resources, the list goes on. What they did with what they had didn’t reflect their level of financial ability – it reflected their heart, their view of God.

Where is your heart today? Does your heart take joy in an opportunity to honor God through giving? Or does your heart search through dusty drawers to find what it will give to God?

Spend time talking to God this week about where you aren’t giving your first and best. What is God asking you to give? Time? Money? Service?

Let’s give our first and best this week. What we offer Him reflects our heart!

DIG DEEPER

Questions to ponder this week as you pray about this lesson.

1. Which character would you say you are most like?

• Frank – the man who has enough, but gives little

• Re – the man who has little, but serves/gives with his time

• Evan – the kid who is just learning to give his first and best

• Cassie – the woman who is willing to serve/host at the last second

2. Are you willing to test God and give your first and your best?

DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT

Things to do this week as you apply this lesson to your life.

• Ask God to show you where you need to be more generous in your life, and ask Him to prepare you to give your best “sheep.”

• Trust God’s prompting to give this week. Whether it is your time, your attention, your resources or your talents. Step out in generosity and watch God work!

• Memorize Luke 10:27.