Title: Giving with Joy
The Point: Join God in His work of giving for the benefit of others.
Get Into the Study
This week we talking about giving to others. More often than not when giving is thought about or discussed people tend to think financially. However, this week encourage your group to think outside that box.
In the past few weeks a hospital in Philadelphia, PA was in the news for recruiting volunteers to cuddle babies in the nursey. In the nursey were babies with no one to hold them, to have contact with them, or to play and interact besides the nurses. (Nurses are amazing but there can be more babies than nurses at times.) All this hospital asked for was people to give up time, physical touch, and maybe a lullaby or two. These volunteers are making a huge difference.
As you gather ask group members about some of the most memorable ways people have given to them in the past. If finances becomes the theme stir them towards time, resources, conversations, wisdom, etc. Use the story of the nursery volunteers as a way to spur on creative thoughts and ideas on giving as you dive into the lesson.
Dr. Beth Masters works with college students at Mississippi College where she is the Director of Christian Life and Ministries. She has a PhD in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Beth loves young adults, baking, and coffee.
http://www.philly.com/philly/health/addiction/Loving-arms-cuddle-babies-born-addicted-to-opioids.html, accessed February 7, 2017.
Study the Bible
Consider using the following illustration to help your group engage Paul’s words in Philippians 4:10-18.
The Passion conference draws about 50,000 young people (between 18-25 years of age) to the Atlanta area each year. This year, the conference took place the first week of January, as usual. But this year’s conference also resulted in a quite unusual outpouring of generosity.
According to ChurchLeaders.com, the young people at this year’s conference were so moved to give to children in need that they pledged and signed up to sponsor all the remaining children on the Compassion International waiting list — for four separate countries. That means four countries’ worth of children in need will be cared for and loved through the generosity of the students and young people who showed up to worship God.
There are times when giving can feel big — when it can feel communal, as in giving $38 a month and knowing you’re joining with others not just to change a life, but to change a country. But giving can also feel small and tedious. Tithing ten percent when you’re not happy with how things are going at church, or when things are tight, may even seem almost foolish.
Thankfully, Christ gives us the opportunity to love the church selflessly, regardless of whether or not she’s perfect.
In Philippians 4:10-18, Paul directly addressed the church in Philippi to thank them for the way they gave to him when he was in need. He also made sure to remind them that, with or without funding, he was content. By giving to Paul, the church had the opportunity to share in Paul’s suffering, just as we’re invited to share in Christ’s suffering and to experience the goodness of God’s provision.
— Ashley Emmert wrote this Leader Extra. She is a freelance writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her sweet Southern husband and their small scrappy dogs. Find her at ashleygraceemmert.com or on Twitter @ashgemmert.
- How has someone’s gift to you helped you during a difficult time?
- What do you enjoy spending money on?
- What is the greatest gift you’ve ever given?
- What is Paul’s secret to being content?
- What do most people base contentment on?
- How can we be content in spite of circumstances?
- What would make you content?
- What are some enemies of contentment in today’s culture?
- What kinds of “things” have you accomplished through Christ’s strength in your life?
- What do you believe prompted the believers to give so generously to Paul?
- What words describe a Christ-follower’s attitude toward giving?
- How does financial giving compare with other forms of service in God’s kingdom?
- Why is money a reality for ministry?
- How can we trust in the promise of God to supply our needs?
- What sorts of needs can we expect God to supply?
- How do you fight financial fear?
- When was the last time you prayed to the Lord about money? What are reasons we might be a bit reluctant to pray about financial issues?
- When has God met your needs in a surprising way?
- How can we practice dependence upon the Lord for our daily needs?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional:
Here’s a brief five-minute teaching video about this session: Thrive, Session 6.