24 Jan Sermon Recap | Choices | Hearts of Generosity
In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul instructs Corinth to mimic the generous hearts of the Macedonian church. Because their first action was giving themselves completely away to God, they considered it a privilege to worship with their money. In giving themselves away, they were able to give generously and eagerly because Christ had given generously to them. We should be able to view our money in the same light as the Macedonians viewed their resources—as a call to worship rather than a resource to be worshipped.
1. As we see in the hearts of the Macedonians, the primary choice is giving ourselves completely to God.God gave himself to us; we give ourselves back to Him and then are free to give ourselves to others. All the small decisions to give ourselves away flow from the first action to give ourselves to Christ. Are you characterized by giving yourself away? What is keeping you from giving yourself completely to God? The Macedonians viewed giving as a privilege. How have you experienced giving as a privilege?
2. Giving tests our trust and affection. It makes us vulnerable because we are reducing our resources, and we cannot be truly vulnerable with someone we do not trust. Even more so, giving from our “first fruits” reveals our trust in God as our provider. Why is it important to give from your “first fruits” as opposed to your “leftovers”? Which is your tendency?
3. The Bible simply commands us to be generous. You must make the choices for what generosity looks like in your life. How does this challenge or expose your definition of generosity? What are areas of your life where you need to reassess your generosity?
4. Sharing resources that aren’t ours to begin with should not be complicated. Does giving feel complicated to you? How have your actions reflected the idea that you own your resources? What choices have you made that reflected the truth that you are not the owner of your resources?
5. Matt proposed several practical principles for us to think of in light of 2 Corinthians 8: You don’t have to give a certain amount, don’t give too much, don’t give too little, start small, give regularly, and whatever you give, give eagerly and happily. Which of these is challenges you the most? Do any of these make you uneasy or uncomfortable? Why? How can you move towards these principles this week?
Thoughts to Consider
– There are many areas to being a disciple—giving is just one of them.
– Our love and trust is tested by the kind of choices we make. God commands a principle of discipleship and then we choose, out of prayer and discernment from Him, what this looks like in our own life.
– Jesus was full of glory and spiritual wealth. He descended to earth, gave his life away, and died a criminal’s death to pay for our sin. In this act He took on our spiritual poverty and became poor so that we could become spiritually rich. His righteousness was imputed, or spiritually injected, into us, and in the same way our sin was attributed to Him. This great exchange should produce a response of generosity in us.
“We should worship with our money, not worship money itself.”
“Generosity should flow freely from a heart of gratitude.”
“Giving tests our trust and our affection.”
“Reducing your resources and your wealth through giving is a display of trust.”
“Giving is not pure generosity—it is a response to what has already been done.”
“A person who has fully given themselves to Christ will freely give themselves away.”