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Imagine that next Sunday your Pastor asked you, as a congregation, to take your offering from your wallet or purse and just sit quietly. Then he asked the question, “What is that in your hand? More to the point, what is that in your heart as you prepare to give what is in your hand? With what attitude do you bring your offering today? ” Then he requested that you put your offering away until later. The Biblical principle is simply this: “Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks in the heart”. (1 Samuel 16/7) That’s why this series is called State of the Heart

 Stewardship. With what attitude do we bring our offerings, whether we are talking about Sunday offerings, the allocation of time during the week, the use of our spiritual gifts etc.

Here are 7 guidelines that might help us monitor our attitude in stewardship

 

[1] AN ATTITUDE OF SACRIFICE  (Read 2 Samuel 24/18-25)

a. David understood the principle of sacrificial giving. In short, if there was no dimension of sacrifice, there was no real giving. An example: It seem that many people in the secular world do everything they can to minimize how much income tax they have to pay. Sadly, one gets the sense that there are those within our churches who have the same attitude to their giving.

b. Compare the attitude of David with that of those mentioned in Malachi 3/6-10. Notice what they were prepared to give. They found ways to minimize their offering. How would you summarize their attitude?

[2] AN ATTITUDE OF GRACE   (2 Corinthians 8/1-7)

a. Notice how Paul views the offering that we give  (v.6) “…this ministry of giving…” and then in v.7  “this gracious act of giving”. Paul repeatedly links giving and grace at least 6 times in 2 chapters.

b. The opposite of grace is law. Things are very disturbing if our giving is dictated by law rather than the freedom of Grace. Notice also that giving is right up there with faith, speech, knowledge, earnestness and love. Let’s not discount the importance of giving.

[3] AN ATTITUDE OF GENEROSITY  (2 Corinthian 8/2)

a. The opposite to a spirit of generosity is the spirit of poverty

b. Read Proverbs 11/24, 25 The spirit of poverty is not being without possessions but hanging on so tightly to what we have lest we lose them. If that is so, then even rich people (in earthly wealth) can be in the grip of the spirit of poverty and, therefore, can be unable to be generous.

[4] AN ATTITUDE OF LOVE   (1 Corinthians 13/1-3)

a. This is really about motivation. “What is that in your heart?”

b. Is our giving motivated by guilt, obligation, fear, love………Can you think of other kinds of motivation that might accompany the act of giving.

c. Summarise the impact of v.3 on the whole subject of giving.

[5] AN ATTITUDE OF DILIGENCE  (1 Corinthians 16/2)

a. How do you respond to this statement “Our giving should be pre-meditated and given diligently rather than in a thoughtless, haphazard manner”

b. Take time to sensitively discuss how members  of your group give to God’s work (in practical terms. Do they have a systematic approach or do they give in more of a “as the need presents” manner?

c. Incidentally, for those waiting for some comment about the practice of tithing, consider this:
 Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do.
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 (NIV)

What do these verses say is the yardstick for determining how much we give?

[6] AN ATTITUDE OF CHEERFULNESS  (2 Corinthians 9/7)

a. The Greek word used here is “hilaron” from which we get our word “hilarious”!!

b. There is great freedom in this verse. It is the opposite of reluctance and compulsion.

[7] AN ATTITUDE OF INTEGRITY (Acts 5/1-5)

a. What was it that made this episode in the early Church such a ‘big deal’?

b. Do you agree or disagree with this statement: “Giving marked by pretence or deceit invites the judgement of God. Integrity is a heart attitude that honours God’s ownership and issues in honest giving”

CONCLUSION:  If you have been with us for the whole series, it would be interesting to know what impact this teaching is having in your life. More especially, has the series seen you make some decisions and act upon what you have encountered.It’s over to your group now to wrap up the series in whatever way you deem appropriate.

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