Psalm 50:14 (ESV) – “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High”
- The early church was known for its generosity. Who is someone in your life known for their generosity? What about their generosity seems counter cultural to you?
Promises – “and perform your vows”
Pastor Kevin told the story of the farmer with twin calves, who offered half the sum of their sale to the Lord as an act of worship. However, one calf died, which he dubbed “the Lord’s calf”, and the promise to give half the sum wasn’t honored.
- When plans change, things get tight, or we finally have to sit down and write the check/give of our time, why is it usually “the Lord’s calf” who dies and not our calf? Have you had a time where you had to honor your promise to God after the circumstances leading to your promise changed?
- We’ve all heard the phrase “it’s the thought that counts”. Is this true? If it’s not the thought that counts, what does count regarding our generosity?
- Does the idea of giving more of your time, talent, and treasure to the Lord frighten you/cause worry/make your palms sweaty? Why might increasing your generosity through tithing lead you to deeper trust in the Lord?
Pastor Kevin noted seven outcomes that happen when we keep our promise of generosity to the Lord:
-We put God first (giving our first fruits to God)
-We prove God’s promises (Malachi 3:6-12)
-We practice God’s plan (we love as Jesus loved, we give as God gave)
-We personalize God’s Word (James 1:22, we put it into practice)
-We prioritize God’s provision (we are open handed, Philippians 4:19)
-We praise God’s name
-We participate in God’s work
- Which of these seven outcomes is the easiest for you to see when you are generous? Which of these is the hardest for you to see? Why might that be?
- Why might God put himself to the test in Malachi 3:6-12? Is it risky of God to put himself to the test?
- Why would God’s plan for his people entail being generous? How might we be God’s instruments in accomplishing his plan if we are generous?
- When we tithe, are we giving our money to God and then moving on or our we partnering with God in accomplishing his work? Why is this distinction important?
- Why is it important that generosity flows from grace (from God and toward others) and not guilt (good Christians give)? Is guilt-driven generosity sustainable? Does it grow your heart?
Priorities – “ to the Most High”
- Matthew 6:19-21 admonishes us to lay up our treasures in heaven and not on earth and that our heart is bent toward the place we lay up our treasure. Knowing that our generosity might be meeting both physical and spiritual needs here on earth, why then is it important to focus on the eternal nature of our generosity and mentally understanding we are making our offering to the Most High (God)?
- If God made it and we manage it, does it minimize the importance of giving our time, talent, and treasure back to God through our generosity? Why or why not?
- Why does the Bible repeatedly talk about giving to God our first fruits? Aren’t our second fruits and third fruits still fruits? Is there a spiritual benefit to this?
Two questions from Pastor Kevin that closed out his message
- What do my promises reveal about my priorities?
- What intentional promises should I pursue to fit God’s priorities?