Keep Being Generous
There seem to be a lot of things to worry about. The holidays are a financially stressful time. Plus, we have supply chain issues, a shortage of workers, and inflation. People generally seem less kind and friendly. We can become frustrated, impatient, and focused on our own needs, making us less compassionate to others. Let’s see how we can get reconnected in relationships and in our care for others.
What you will need: A Bible or your Bible app, a notebook, pen, and highlighter. The verses highlighted below are linked so that you can easily access them during your study time.
1. Has there been a time when you trusted God with your finances, and He came through in a miraculous way?
2. Read Philippians 4:10 and 16. Have you ever experienced “compassion fatigue”? After you’ve seen the war reports, the hurricane damage, or the famine pictures, do you feel overwhelmed? Maybe you didn’t know where to start? How did you take a step to start caring again? What do these verses suggest? What does verse 16 remind us?
3. Read Philippians 4:11-13. Sometimes we don’t care about others because we are self-absorbed and worried about our own needs. What has Paul learned? How can his attitude affect your life? How does verse 13 reassure you that God is working behind the scenes, even when things look desperate?
4. Read Philippians 4:17 and 2 Corinthians 8:7. What does this verse say Paul wants for the Philippians? The Corinthians passage encourages what disciplines for the Jesus follower? Why would God want us to “excel in the grace of giving”?
\5. Read Luke 16:11, 2 Corinthians 9:11, and Philippians 4:19-20. What are some of the reasons God wants us to be generous? Where do you get the grace and supply to give? What is the result of your generosity? Have you ever thought you “owned the cookies”? How did God teach you otherwise?
6. Action Step: Ask God to assess your generosity. Commit to your next step. If you have never tithed, read Malachi 3:8-12. Write out and memorize Malachi 3:10 and repeat it as a prayer of thanksgiving to God as you start this faith journey. If you have the principle of tithing “down” and it’s a regular part of your life, can you trust God to be generous at every opportunity? Read Galatians 6:10 and ask God if you are obedient in this area.
The message this week was based on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Another great teaching on giving comes from Paul in 2 Corinthians. He had experienced painful visits with them and rebuked them in the letter we call 1 Corinthians. But in this letter (2 Corinthians), most of the controversies, divisions, and lifestyle issues have been worked out. He is encouraging them. In chapters eight and nine, he wants to take them to the next level in their faith, so he teaches them about generosity and giving!
7. What example of extravagant generosity is seen in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5? Who is giving to whom? Is that unusual? What “percentage” of their income did they give? Why were they so insistent upon giving?
8. What is Paul asking them to do in 2 Corinthians 8:6, 10-12? How does he both commend and challenge them? What does he tell them about the amount they are to give?
9. Finally, Paul expresses other important principles. Read 2 Corinthians 8:13-15 and 9:6, 10-11. List them out to encourage your own generosity journey and bolster your faith, and give you promises to help you trust God.