Sunday, October 19, 2008

Money, money, money

This week's small group curriculum reminds us that everything we have is a gift from God and must be handled in a God-honoring, biblical manner.

Big Idea:
How we view money and how we handle money matters to God. We are called to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us by managing them God’s way.

Stewardship is simply managing God’s money the way God wants it to be managed, with obedience and with faith. God has called us to do two different things: bring the tithe and give offerings. Tithing is returning to God ten percent of what already belongs to Him. It is the acknowledgement that God owns everything and is the giver of all things entrusted to our care. Giving, on the other hand, really begins after we have tithed. We are encouraged to give freewill offerings from what is left over as an act of faith and worship. When we fail to do either, God is dishonored. Bringing the tithe is an act of obedience. Giving offerings is an act of faith. Both are signs of good stewardship.

“First fruits” is the important biblical principle of giving our first and best to God. God gave us His best, His Son, and we should give our best in return. The opposite of first fruits is giving God only what we think we can get away with or planning out what we want to spend and then looking at what is left and figuring how much of that we can give to God. Jesus says that we can tell where someone's heart is based on where they invest their treasure. To have our hearts with God is to give generously of our financial wealth to God, His church, and His causes. Since we also value our time and talents, we should invest them with God in faith.

God is serious about this issue of financial stewardship for two reasons: 1) It is the most obvious way we honor Him. How can we trust God with our souls if we can’t trust Him with our money? How can we trust Him with our salvation if we can’t trust Him with our finances? 2) It creates the opportunity for Him to give us more. When we honor God with our resources, He has promised to multiply those very resources so that we can honor Him even more. God sets us up for blessing by requiring an act of obedience from us. Let’s reclaim our finances for God’s kingdom by obediently managing our money His way.

Discussion Questions: (read the scriptures & discuss)

Luke 16:10-15
How can money become our master? Give examples of how we tend to serve money and make it a god. What practical things can we do to keep money from controlling us?

Deuteronomy 26:1-12 & Proverbs 3:9-10
How is the gift of Jesus a picture of first fruits? Why should we give God our first fruits? Discuss how we can practically live out the principle of first fruits.

Malachi 3:8-10
Why is holding back the tithe considered robbing God? Give examples of how God has blessed your faithful and obedient giving.

Taking Action: If you haven’t committed to tithing, make that commitment of obedience today and honor God. Additionally, you are encouraged to take a step of faith by sowing into God’s kingdom through a generous freewill offering. Join-in on the “miracle offering”.

Ministry Time

1 comment:

steward said...

Spirit led giving as oppposed to tithing uses faith and obedience at the same time. It takes faith to trust what the Spirit is prompting you to give and it takes obedience to listen.

Not all of the Israelites gave a tithe. Only the farmers and animal herders gave of a tithe. Carpenters, bankers, lawyers, doctors, tax collectors, and fishermen were not required to tithe. You can find support for this in Lev.27 & Deut.16.

-jared b