TEXTS: 1 Cor. 9-13
1. American Christianity often presents a flawed view of what is required of us as believers concerning giving and serving the Lord. We can wrongly think that we are simply required to “pay the ox” and then we can live as we see fit. This turns giving into a show and does not bring freedom from materialism and sin. Additionally, we can hear many proclaiming that if we give of our finances it will ensure that the Lord will give us something (materially) in return. Both concepts are dangerous and damaging to our souls.
2. We need to consider the “law of tithing” versus the “spirit of tithing.” The law of tithing would direct us towards owing money to the Kingdom of God. This is not what is taught in the NT. But the spirit of tithing steers us towards generosity, gives us a biblical and logical framework for giving, and makes giving a delight rather than a burden. The NT actually teaches us that we owe the Lord way more than ten percent of our finances; we owe Him one hundred percent of our lives.
3. We must be cautious concerning trying to perform spiritual acts and disciplines so that we appear to others as something special. When we do such things we rob Jesus of the glory He deserves. We don’t perform for the Lord and others--we serve joyfully and sacrificially.
4. If we think we can simply pay our tithes to those who are called to do the work of the Lord we may misunderstand our role in the Kingdom of God. Those who make their living by serving God’s people are not the only ones the Lord calls to advance the Kingdom of God. We all are called to be oxen and to take seriously our responsibility to pray, serve, be a good witness, and spread the gospel.
5. Why does a believer receive anything from heaven? Is it because of our stellar performance? Is it because of our giving? It’s not. We receive blessings from heaven because of Jesus’ perfect performance.
TALK TO EACH OTHER:
1. What are some indicators that a believer may be “performing” the spiritual disciplines for the wrong reasons?
2. If our performance doesn’t dictate what we receive from heaven, why should we take our performance and holiness seriously?
3. Why should we as believers give and financially support the Kingdom of God?
TALK TO GOD:
Pray as you feel led concerning the following area(s):
- The right heart and understanding concerning giving/tithing
- That all in our church would take seriously their responsibility to be an "oxen" and advance the Kingdom of God