Heads or Tails
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Study Guide #5 How to give Sacrificially, Purposefully, and Joyfully

Carole Combs
Wife of Lead Pastor

I grew up going to a church every week with my mother and my two sisters. I am thankful for the teaching that I heard for my need to trust Christ as my Savior. However, I am not saying that giving to God financially to support His work was not taught there; maybe that part I thought was for the person next to me. I saw the offering plate being passed, and I heard about the special offerings for the foreign missionaries. I did not understand God’s method of giving and why we give which resulted in me not giving to my church.

Growing up what did you know about giving to God? Does it line up with the Word of God?
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When I married my husband, I joined his church that he had been attending for several years. After the wedding, my husband informed me that we would be giving ten percent of our income each week to our church. This was a new concept to me, but I was willing to do this if this was what God had instructed me to do. It was not difficult to do when we had two incomes, and my husband was working for General Motors. Our first child came along, and I chose to stay at home with him. General Motors was still generous and our giving to God financially was not a sacrifice. After a couple of years of marriage, my husband told me that he was quitting his job to be a full-time staff member at our church. He would be working with the children and the teens of our church. Our annual income was cut 70%. We had to and did make huge financial adjustments. We moved to affordable living arrangements, we downsized our vehicle, and we lived very frugally. Now when it came time each week to write the check to the church, it was significantly noticeable. My heart would question if God really wants or asks for what I was giving. Gently used clothes would show up for our baby, and sometimes an unexpected gift card for gas or food would show up. I was continuing to grow in my walk with the Lord. God's Word became so precious to me, and I desired to learn it more and more. I was attending a couple of Bible studies each week. I learned and realized that all I had or ever will be given is God’s and from Him. It was God's grace that my husband was physically able to work and to provide for our little family. I am not going to tell you that I had never doubted or questioned God again when it came to our finances, but I will tell you that He did and does provide abundantly repeatedly through the years.

What do you think of this statement: It is all God’s anyways?
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There was a particular week that I will never forget. We had three children, bills, diapers to buy, did I say bills? I reluctantly wrote the check for the church as I consistently did each week. This week there was no money to get groceries to feed my family. At this time in our lives, we did not have or use a credit card. Doubt was really setting in. I just knew God would understand if I did not give Him His portion that He had asked for each week. I will catch up with God later I thought to myself. At about that time our phone rang. One of the teenagers my husband had been working with wanted help. He asked my husband to help him deliver pizzas because they were shorthanded that evening. My husband came home after a few hours of delivering pizzas with a feast in his hands from the restaurant. The manager was thankful that he had helped out during the crisis that he gave him the feast to bring home to his family. Coincidence? Not at all! God was faithful even in my doubting.

Have you ever been in a position where you doubted or wondered if you should give to God? How did you feel?
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What do you believe about God when it comes to your time and resources?
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It is easier to give out of our abundance instead of giving sacrificially. Would it be offensive to you for me to suggest you sacrifice your time and resources? It is none of my business. It is God’s business. It is totally between you and God.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

What you believe about God reflects what you do with your time and resources. If you believe that every one of your heartbeats are numbered by God, you may purposefully live each day with an expectancy to fulfill God’s will for your life with your finances and time. If you believe that you are in control of your own destiny, how is that working out for you?

When you give, do you give sacrificially or out of abundance?
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Do you give on purpose and consistently to your local church? Why or why not?
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Do you give joyfully or grudgingly?
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My great aunt passed away a few years ago. She never had any children of her own and the estate was left to my cousins and me. She had lived in her house her entire life since infancy. Every inch of the four-story house was crammed with stuff. My cousins took a few things, and the rest of the estate was mine to do what I wished with. I had so much fun giving it away! Life is too short. You will never see a funeral procession with a moving truck carrying the possessions of the deceased. Seeing all my aunt’s things left behind was a turning point in my life concerning what I give to God. It was not that I was not giving consistently with my money.
What about the things I own? Whose were they anyways? I watched Him be constantly faithful when my faith was weak and when it did not make sense to give a fraction to God, and I was supposed to live on the other fraction.

Is there something that you have a tight grip on that is not for God to use?
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In the earlier years of marriage, I was unable to afford to visit any foreign mission fields. By God’s grace, I have been able to visit in recent years the poorest in the dumps of Guatemala to the orphans of Mexico and South Africa. I have witnessed these poor people try to give the shirt off their back to you and to give their last bit of food to those in need. “Why?” I would ask myself. This was another turning point in my life. I wanted to have their heart of giving. Was I holding onto things too tightly in my hands? I did not want God to have to pry my fingers open to be able to use what he has entrusted me with. I would remind myself that it is all God’s anyways. My heart is to sow bountifully with HIS time He has given me, as well as, sow bountifully with the resources He has given me. I never want to ever give again with a doubting reluctant heart. It is my joy to give back to Him what He has given to me. Learn to live sacrificially, purposefully, and joyfully before it too late.

Many people have said that they would give God a portion of their winnings if they won a million dollars. Do you think if they were not giving God anything presently, they would do it then? Explain your answer.
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Write here a time where you have seen God faithfully provide for you as you were faithfully giving to Him.
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“Many Christians estimate difficulty in the light of their own resources, and thus they attempt very little and they always fail. All giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His power and presence to be with them.”  James Hudson Taylor



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