Share one thing you are looking forward to doing this summer.
Last week Gene entrusted us with an envelope of his money to carry this week.
What did you do with the envelope this week? How did it make you feel to have Gene trust you with his money?
Gene designed this exercise because he wants us to feel the tension of carrying someone else’s money. The truth is, we carry someone else’s money every day. After all, the money we have is not really our money; it’s God’s money. We have a spiritual relationship with God that involves every aspect of our lives.
Have someone read I Chronicles 29:10-12.
If you continue reading the chapter, you’ll notice that King David repeats that everything we own belongs to God. God chose Solomon to build the temple though he was young and inexperienced. David gathered all the resources Solomon would need to build a house for the Lord. David took delight in being a part of it, in having something to do with the Lord’s house that Solomon would build.
Gene led an exercise where we clenched our fists and then released them. We often hold on tightly to our finances, fearful of losing control. But the tighter we clench, the more tense we get.
On a scale of 1-10, how tight are your fists in regard to your finances? In what areas are they the tightest? (Income? Possessions? Generosity? etc.)
How might a tight-fist mentality affect your relationships with others?
The funny thing is that when we let go and open our hands, everything changes. This is the most liberating, peace-filled move you can ever make financially in your life. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines generous as being “open handed, marked by abundance or ample proportions and characterized by a noble or kindly spirit.”
Have someone read Matthew 29:1-11.
It’s absurd that the God who owns everything, would ever ask us for anything. The story of the triumphal entry of Jesus on Palm Sunday highlights one man’s generosity. Long before that day came, God had already touched the heart of some random donkey owner. God doesn’t need us, for He can do anything on His own, yet He chooses to work through us.
It is also absurd that Jesus rode into town on the generosity of ordinary people. In that moment, He was demonstrating that in the eyes of God, it’s the ordinary person that can give extraordinarily to the purposes of God.
When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, it says that the whole city was stirred. Here at Eastside that is our desire as well. We want people in our communities to feel their hearts stirred for Jesus.
Share a time when your heart was stirred for Jesus.
It’s absurd that our generosity writes us into the story of God.
Our greed writes us out of the story of God, but our generosity writes us into the story of God. It’s those little acts of responsiveness to God’s promptings in our lives that write us into the story of God. The Bible is filled with everyday people who were invited into God’s story. We read about a little kid who had not much—only a sack with 5 loaves and 2 fishes—that somehow expanded to feed 5000 people.
Have someone read Zechariah 9:9.
500 years before this, God had promised through Zechriah’s prophecy that the king who would be their salvation was going to come riding on a donkey. 500 years later one man’s generosity was a part of fulfilling God’s destiny. God doesn’t need us, yet time after time He invites us in. And if we are attentive and willing, we get to be a part of His story. We just need to be available.
Share a time, where you were willing, available and were given an opportunity to be part of God’s story.
Finally, it’s absurd that the man got his donkey back. If you get absurd and become generous to God, you get it back.
Is something blocking you from being generous? What do you think about it?
Have someone read 2 Corinthians 9:10-11.
The most important first step you can take is to be intentional with your giving. Making your generosity a habit is critical to growing in this area.
The Bible says when we are generous, we are storing up treasure in heaven. When you give something away, you’re actually opening up a doorway in which you can get back something more.
Share one way you can build more generosity in your life this week.
Spend time thanking God for inviting us into His Story. Ask Him to help you be more like Him. If anything is keeping you from being truly generous, ask for His help in overcoming that, for Him to show you the beauty and joy in opening your hands wide, in taking opportunities to share what He has given you. Pray for your friends and community, that their hearts would be stirred for Jesus and that people find the hope and purpose that only Jesus can bring.