Reach Gather Grow
in Galatians

Lesson Four • Giving

Pastor Josh Yates

Giving can be a tough topic to discuss. It is such a personal thing and for so many people, it can feel as though the church always talks about money or giving.

1. Do you feel like the church (The River and other churches you have been a part of) talks about money all the time? Is this rooted in truth or just perception?

Paul talked to the Galatians about caring for one another by carrying their burdens and doing good to everyone. This is important for the body of Christ (the Church) to be doing all of the time. Read Galatians 6:2-3 and 10.

2. How can you carry the burdens that other people carry?

3. What does it mean to “do good” to other people?

4. What keeps you from carrying the burdens of others?

The burdens people carry can be numerous and can seem as though we cannot meet every need. The reality is, we cannot meet every need around us. However, if we allow God’s Spirit to control us, when we live generously we can meet the needs that God brings to us and be a blessing. We can actually accomplish more than we think we can.

5. What do you think it means to live generously?

Marquis de Lafayette was a French officer who provided invaluable assistance to George Washington and the struggling American army. After the war was over, he returned to France and resumed his life as a farmer on many estates. In 1783, the harvest was a terrible one, and there were many who suffered as a result. Lafayette’s farms were unaffected by the devastating crop failures. One of his workers offered what seemed to be good advice to Lafayette, “The bad harvest has raised the price of wheat. This is the time to sell.” After thinking about the hungry peasants in the surrounding villages, Lafayette disagreed and said, “No, this is the time to give.”

God blesses us not just for our own benefit, but also so that we can be a blessing to others in need. The tendency to hoard and try to build up more and more is a dangerous one, and the best antidote to greed is to be a generous giver. There is certainly no shortage of people in need today, and while we cannot meet every need, if we do what we can, God will multiply resources so that it is enough.

Read Luke 21:1-4.  The story of the widow that gives just two copper coins into the offering box always convicts me. There are so many times in my life when I feel like I just do not have the ability to give. The reality is, I always have the ability to give, it just may not look like the people around me.

6. Do you ever feel like you cannot give? Describe that feeling and see if it is rooted in truth.  

The amount of the gift is not as important as the heart behind the gift. We can give because of guilt or coercion. It might be something that you have always done because that is just what you do when you go to church.

Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. Christians were unusually generous with their money, especially to the poor in the early church. In fact, we learn in Acts chapter 4 that there was “not a needy person among them,” because they had sold some of their possessions to help those that needed it. The needy had no food and no ability to care for themselves. The people sought to meet the needs around them. The connection between a follower of Jesus and their generosity has been true of finances from the beginning of the church. Generosity and following Jesus go hand in hand.

7. Why is it so hard to talk about giving when it comes to our finances?

Paul spoke to the Corinthians about the importance of being generous in giving to the work of God. He encourages them here to be generous in every way by using an illustration about sowing and reaping. If a person sows sparingly, they will reap sparingly. If a person sows generously, then they will reap generously.

Sowing sparingly is like taking one seed at a time and carefully placing them one by one like they are putting a diamond in a vault. When you sow that way (sparingly), you will not see the harvest that would be plentiful. However, when you sow seeds generously and spread them all around (freely sowing), you will see a greater harvest because you have a greater opportunity to see that harvest!

Each person should give how they have decided in their heart with God because God loves a cheerful giver. We should not give out of guilt, compulsion, or even reluctantly.

8. What does it mean to be a cheerful giver?

9. Do you believe there is a connection between how we give and how we are blessed?

In 2012, we only owned one car and had two little girls (one is in college and the other is in eighth grade now). It was a 2002 Dodge Caravan that had over 125,000 miles on it; however, we thought we were good for a while. Then the engine blew a gasket and we were stuck. What were we going to do? Needless to say, it was a stressful time in our household. We had a little savings, but we did not have the money to go buy a new car. So we prayed.

For a little context, we had never really tithed consistently in our married life up to that point. We had made a decision a few years earlier to give consistently of our finances to the church (and in other ways) as a commitment to God.

So, back to the story. The next day, our parents gave us $1,000 toward a car to help out as they could. Then on Wednesday, a family in the youth ministry heard that our van blew up and they wanted to give us $5,000. On Thursday that same family said they felt like they should give us $8,000. Then two more families heard about our plight and donated $3,000 more to us. We were able to purchase a 2009 Dodge Journey that we still drive today. We truly believe that through our obedience to God, He was able to bless us in a way that we could never imagine.

10. Does this mean that we should expect God to give money back to us if we give to Him? Should this be our motivation? Is this the right heart?

Sorry to answer the previous question in the actual study, but the glaring answer is no! This is what God did for us. He may do something like that for you. However, when we give we can know that God will use us to be His hands and feet in the lives of other people and He will also never let us down. He will provide for us and bless us in order to be a blessing to others.

Money is not the only thing that is part of living generously.

11. What are some other ways that you can give of yourself to love those around you by living generously?

When you give, you are giving to God Himself. Though what we give may be material, it takes on an eternal purpose when given to God. Give cheerfully whether you give of your time, talents, or treasure. Do good to everyone as you live generously!