Bible Study, Lesson 1

/Bible Study, Lesson 1

Bible Study, Lesson 1

Introduction

The theme of this year’s financial program is Extravagant Generosity: The Heart of Giving, which is a recurring theme in the Bible. When we want to express our love and affection, we often think about how we can give something to the object of our affection. Sometimes that means a tangible gift. Sometimes it is giving of our best thought, our time, our energy and ourselves. Our financial support of ministry is a reflection of our love for God as well as an expression of our maturity as disciples and our real priorities in life. The real motivation for generosity is not the need of the ministry but rather our need to give so that we can grow in our faith. Extravagant generosity does not come from affluence or even agreement; extravagant generosity is caught, a matter of the heart.

Biblical Background

1 Chronicles 29:9. Then the people rejoiced because these had given willingly, for with single mind they had offered freely to the LORD; King David also rejoiced greatly.

Matthew 6:21. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

2 Corinthians 9:7. Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver.

 

In these three passages we find a recurring theme also found elsewhere in the Bible—giving is a heart decision. In 1 Chronicles, King David has challenged the assembled people of Israel to support the building of the temple. After establishing that they are following God’s will and purpose, he shares his personal commitment and asks who will join him (vv. 1-5). The leaders step up and make their collective offerings in support of David’s leadership (vv. 6-8). In verse 9, the rest of the people respond to the challenge and make a wholehearted gift to the house of the Lord.

Matthew 6:21 is part of the “Sermon on the Mount.” Jesus is addressing the issue of putting God first and suggests that a part of putting God first has to do with where we put our treasure. In verse 21, Jesus makes the obvious observation that our heart is seldom far away from our treasure. He goes on to say that we cannot serve both God and money (v. 24). He concludes this thought in verse 33: “

[seek] first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness…”

In Paul’s second letter to the church leaders in Corinth, he encourages them to fulfill a commitment they made to support the saints in Jerusalem with a special offering. When we join a ministry, we make a promise to support the needs of the ministry. In speaking of the collection for Jerusalem, Paul challenges the Corinthians to provide evidence, or proof, of their love through their generosity (8:24). In 9:7, he clearly distinguishes between the obligation to give and the heartfelt decision to give. We need to make a heart decision about our giving.

These three passages are representative of this recurring theme in both the Old and New Testaments—that our giving is a matter of the heart, a decision based on our commitment as disciples and one of the ways that God’s love grows within us as followers.

Application

  • When do you first remember learning about giving?
  • What is the most generous act of which you were the recipient? What was your reaction and why?
  • What motivates you to give?
2017-09-20T09:45:13-06:00 March 17th, 2014|Bible Studies|0 Comments

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