We Are Blessed To Be A Blessing
Context: The following is a discipleship lesson focusing on a core value of being an authentic disciple of Jesus. These build on the foundation laid in our resources for Exploring Christianity and Mentoring a New Christian. You can see the Table of Contents for this lesson series here.
Big Idea: God has radically blessed us in the Gospel. This transforms us to live lives of generosity in giving back to Him, His church, people and purposes.
Part 1: Discovery
Read and reflect on these Scriptures:
Old Testament Reading: Genesis 12.1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
New Testament Reading: 2 Corinthians 8.1-9 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. 6 Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. 7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 6.19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also....
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money."
Questions For Discussion:
1. What are these passages saying in your own words?
2. How do we see the beauty and majesty of Jesus in these passages?
3. What does this passage teach us about life?
Part 2: Nurture
Now that we have discovered truth about Jesus with our minds, we want to nurture these truths in our hearts.
Questions For Discussion:
1. The centerpiece of the Christian faith is the fact that God gave His Son for us (John 3.16), how does this act of radical generosity shape our discipleship to Jesus?
2. Who is someone in your life that has lived this theme (Blessed to Be A Blessing) out? How did it impact you or others?
3. What has giving to the Lord and to people looked like in your life?
4. What might it look like to experience more of the value that "We are blessed to be a blessing" in your life? What fruit would this bear in your life and in our world?
5. In Scott Sauls book, "Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides" he writes, "According to a recent study reported in Relevant magazine, only 10 to 25 percent of the typical American congregation tithes (that is, gives the biblical starting point of 10 percent) to the church, the poor, and Kingdom causes. The same report concluded that if the remaining 75 to 90 percent of American Christians began to tithe regularly, then global hunger, starvation, and death from preventable diseases could be relieved within five years. Additionally, illiteracy could be eliminated, the world’s water and sanitation issues could be solved, all overseas mission work could be fully funded, and over $100 billion per year would be left over for additional ministry."
How does this impact your view of money and generosity?
Part 3: Apply
As we have seen from the Word that we are blessed to be a blessing, and now that we have nurtured this truth in our hearts so that we not only see it, but savor it, what are practices we can incorporate in our lives in order for this to be a growing part of our lives?
1. Remember that spiritual practices are not the answer for a disciple, but they lead an authentic disciple to The Answer Himself.
2. Embracing a life of spiritual practices doesn't keep us from the spontaneous leadership of the Spirit, they actually sensitize and make us aware in a greater way in our day to day lives and the situations we encounter.
3. Also, a common mistake disciples make in being intentional in embracing spiritual practices is taking on too much at once, getting discouraged and quitting. As you look at these practices be in prayer about what step the Holy Spirit is calling you to take and become consistent with.
Practice: Prioritized Giving - Committing to give a consistent percentage of your income to the Lord through the local church is a practice disciples have implemented for thousands of years as a way to put hands and feet to this value - some call it tithing (giving 10%). We encourage you to look at where you are today in your giving, and to pray about what a next step might be for you.
1. How has this practice been a part of your discipleship to Jesus?
2. After taking some time to pray, how do you sense the Holy Spirit leading you to respond in regards to what we have talked about today?