By: Garrison Polsgrove
For: Shepherd Youth D-Group Leaders
Tonight’s lesson is all about teaching generosity being the means in which we show the character of Jesus to the world. The first church in Act 2 gave freely to others since that was what they saw their resurrected Savior do. Jesus served us before He saved us. Generosity, therefore, is more than a virtue that attracts others to Jesus but it is the means through which we, ourselves, experience Jesus.
Generosity, which starts as a discipline, is the practice of giving away what God has given and creating an opportunity for Him to fill us with more of Himself as we empty our hearts of greed. The enemy that keeps us from experience God’s grace (definition: God’s undeserved favor) is greed.
Greed says: “What I have is mine and I’ll hoard it.”
Grace says: “What I have is God’s so I’ll give it.”
Greed operates from a mindset of scarcity.
Grace creates a mindset of abundance.
Greed is something we are born with and requires no effort to create.
Grace is something God gives and is experienced through discipline.
(Grace is experienced through effort but given freely through faith.)
Greed thrives on a lack of faith and a focus on human earning.
Grace is experienced only through a dependency on faith and giving away what God has given.
Faith-filled believers do not need to pray for a spirit of generosity, but rather we have the freedom to create one through giving. Generosity is a lot like eating Pringles, one you start giving it is difficult to stop, except the lasting effects of giving is a lot more satisfying than knowing you ingested 5,000mg of sodium.
The principle of sowing and reaping is clear in scripture in that if we sow sparingly we will also reap sparingly (2 Cor. 2:6-9). Some people say, “I will be generous with my time, treasure, and talents, when I can afford it.” But Scripture would say you can’t afford not to give (excuse the double negative)!!! Much like how exercising when you feel tired increases your energy level afterwards, the same is true with giving away what we have. The best time to give is when you feel you have nothing. Giving when we feel we have nothing allows God to do His best work, because He has a pretty good track record at making beauty from nothing.