Study Guide: This Is What We Do
Sunday December 7, 2008 | Sandra Unger
- I Timothy 6: 17-19
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Christians are called to live generously all year round – not just at Christmas time. Jesus models four distinctives that we are to imitate in our lives and in our communities. We can easily get caught in the flow of our culture so these distinctives are challenging for us, but they’re crucial for expanding God’s Kingdom.
Sandra’s message focused on one of the distinctives of living Christianly: generosity. She offered four characteristics of this distinctive.
- People who love Jesus give all of the time—not just at Christmas. 1 Tim. 6:17-19 was cited to support this.
- People who love Jesus give of themselves. This means an investment of time and personal contact with those we are giving to. It’s not really about giving just more stuff. Phil. 2:5-8 and Matt. 22:37-40 were cited to support this.
- People who love Jesus give sacrificially. This means giving until it hurts. In other words, it means giving so generously that your budget and plans are impacted and you can’t do something you had wanted to do. Sandra talked about the importance of being willing to go beyond prayer for others who have needs we can meet, to recognizing that God might be calling us to meet those needs as well as pray for them! To do this requires that we have the necessary margin in our lives in terms of both time and resources. Sandra called us to take a hard look at these things and start working on reclaiming those margins because the money is not really just for us, its for God to use through us. This is a primary way God wants to get things done in the world and we need to cooperate for it to happen!
- People who love Jesus give out of a deep place of contentment, peace and trust in Christ. Phil. 4:5-7 was cited in support.
The message wrapped up with Sandra sharing her family’s story as it interacted with Dee’s family (the neighbors they met when they moved into the city of St. Paul). The example in this story was that Sandra’s family felt led to purchase a home that Dee’s family could live in to stabilize their living situation. Dee’s family had been forced to move four times in two years and really needed to find a stable home. The Ungers (Sandra’s family) were able to do this because they had been disciplined about the way they used their resources. This is the sort of thing God wants us to be able to do as an expression of God’s kingdom.
- Which of these four distinctives challenges you most? After everyone shares their number, then invite comments on why they chose the number they did.
- What are some examples of the way Jesus models these four distinctions for us?
- In what ways have you lived out these distinctives? How have you lived these out with other people?
- Are there needs that you know about that you might have the resources to meet?