Happy Monday December 31st!
Welcome to the last day of 2018. We’re back in 2 Corinthians and Paul is encouraging the Church in their giving and generosity. People love to be rewarded for their good deeds. NPR will give us tote bags and water bottles for becoming donating members. Often when we give to a cause we will receive a t-shirt that we will proudly wear so others know that we are a good person who gives to charity. I had a friend in college who once asked sarcastically “If I give and I don’t get t-shirt, did I every really give?” Paul wants Corinth to know about the other Churches who have given back out of a response to what God has done for them. Churches all over Macedonia are giving back even in the midst of poverty. Why? Because our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gave up riches and became poor that we might become rich. We give generously because we have a God who has so generously given to us. Paul doesn’t want the church in Corinth to miss out on being part of this “act of grace” in caring for others within the larger church. We give out of abundance to care for others within the body of Christ so that others may give out of their abundance. This is not out of obligation or a box to check, but a response to such great love that we have received.
The following guide is a resource for you to use in your personal time of solitude with the Lord as well as when you connect with the Community that you facilitate. It can also be used for times with family or friends around the table.
CATCH-UP- What was your high and low from last week/yesterday?
SING + PRAY- Take some time for song (guitar, hymn, acapella or read a Psalm) and extended prayer as an individual/community. A simple path of prayer is to pray through one of the Psalms as a group or use the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).
DISCOVER (In large group)
[2 Corinthians 8:1-15]
1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. 6 Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. 7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.
8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 10 And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. 11 So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”
+ WHAT are some of the main ideas that emerge from these verses?
(Use these questions to help make additional observations to clarify the main point)
_ In vs. 1 & 2 what is happening?
_ In vs. 3 & 4 how does Paul explain why this is happening?
_ What does Paul want them to excel in in vs. 7?
_ Why does Paul say this in vs. 8?
_ How does Paul relate this to Jesus in vs. 9?
_ What does Paul not want to happen in vs. 13?
_ What does Paul explain in vs. 14?
PROCESS (In Breakouts of 2-3’s, guys/girls)
+ HOW is the Lord calling me to action/obedience? Is there sin to confess, a next step to take, how has it gone since last time?
_ Are you giving back out of what God is generously providing for you or are you being tight fisted?
+ WHO am I walking with and praying for to discover Jesus, what is my next step? (e.g., Build trust by spending time with them, set-up an intentional time to share your story, begin a discovery study on the teachings of Jesus with them)