Lakeside Reflections – NOVEMBER 2013 – Week 2
Message – Dr. Peter Christofides
MONEY MATTERS – Giving Out of Appreciation
The Highlights Reel
We naturally want to skirt away from talking about giving. We particularly feel uncomfortable hearing about giving from the pulpit. But when we come close to a correct understanding and application of stewardship we finally understand giving – the purpose and necessity to give. Stewardship is about managing the resources God has given us, but we need to understand that:
The Christian Gospel is all about giving
Stewardship is a pivotal concept within the gospel framework. Because everything we have, everything we have been given – everything – is from God (1 Chronicles 29:14; James 1:17), and we are benefactors of Grace, we are blessed to wisely apportion back what we have received, so we actively acknowledge who actually owns it all – who has given us all we have.
Stretching Mind, Muscle and Memory: Being honest, what is it that makes us feel so uncomfortable when it comes to talking about giving or money? Discuss briefly as a group.
Warm-up: Brainstorm as a group (or with the person next to you) the variations on stewardship and how that converts into giving out of appreciation.
Read 1 Chronicles 29:10-20
1. STEWARDSHIP REFLECTS A CORRECT UNDERSTANDING OF THE NATURE OF GOD (v10b)
The nature of God – who God is – is to give, through creation, and through the things we’ve been given. God is both great (through creation) and good (through how he blesses us).
It is something we often miss – that God’s nature is, has, and always will be, to give. Do we appreciate God for who he is? How might we reinforce God’s giving nature within Lakeside and in our own lives?
2. STEWARDSHIP IS UNDERSTANDING WHERE ALL THAT WE HAVE COMES FROM (v12)
The strength we have, the brains, and even our breath – these are from God. We cannot bring this sort of favour on ourselves. Neither can we claim the resources God has given us as our own.
Contemplate for a moment of silence, what it means to you to have strength, to be able to think and feel, to breath.
3. STEWARDSHIP IS UNDERSTANDING WHO WE ARE IN RELATION TO GOD (v14, 15)
It is blessed to do what is right, for who are we to retain what is truly not our own?
Share a time within the last year that you knew the right thing to do, you did it, and you were blessed as a result.
4. STEWARDSHIP IS UNDERSTANDING THE TRUE NATURE OF GIVING (v16)
A steward is someone who managers the assets of someone else …
We are managing what we have, and Lakeside as a church, because we have been entrusted. Our abundance is truly God’s abundance.
Consider for a moment the manifestations of abundance in your life, how grateful you are, and how you like to response. Share with the group if you feel led.
5. STEWARDSHIP IS UNDERSTANDING THE NEED FOR THE RIGHT ATTITUDE IN GIVING (v17)
God searches the heart and he is pleased when his uprightness is matched by an attitude of humble uprightness – to honour the truth – in us.
How do you feel when your attitude is revealed as honouring God? How do we feel when we fall short of the glory of God because our attitudes did not honour God?
6. STEWARDSHIP IS UNDERSTANDING THAT GIVING IS BEING OBEDIENT TO GOD (v17b)
Just reflect on what this means as a group – allowing one or two people to contribute what they think.
7. STEWARDSHIP IS UNDERSTANDING THAT TRUE GIVING RESULTS IN PRAISE TO GOD
When we give with good hearts, out of appreciation, praise is the instant response.
Go around the group and answer where your ‘praise meter’ sits presently, 1 – “no praise in my heart” to 10 – “I feel I’m already in heaven.” Try to be honest for you right now.
Overall Idea: God owns everything. We are his stewards. Giving that is aligned with these thoughts elicits praise.
Shot Clock (24-seconds): leader to allocate a person to pray a short prayer for the group – to ask God’s Spirit to bless the group to experience giving out of appreciation this week.
Post-Match Debrief: What are the ways in which you could give sacrificially this week?
Prayer time: Pray that God would help us live and give appreciatively. Pray for each other and each other’s family concerns, for health and safety, and pray where we might be of assistance to each other in practical ways.