The world within you has the power to change the world around you. As we have been talking about loving, serving and giving we have gone deeper to explore what is going on within.
3 John 1:2 I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health just as your soul prospers. NAS
God wants us to live such blessed lives that we awaken God’s blessing in the earth.
Eph 2:10 It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others. (TLB)
Our deepest sense of purpose is born from learning to be part of somebody else’s story. God has a strategic plan he set into motion to empower us to cooperate with his desire to make our world flourish. Giving a portion of increase has always been a part of God’s plan for worship throughout the ages.
Numbers have meaning in the Bible. 7 is the number of perfection. 6 is less than perfection and is the number of man. 666 is the trinity of less than perfection and is the mark of beast. Interestingly 10 is the number of testing. God used 10 Commandments to test Israel’s obedience. God used 10 plagues to test Pharaoh’s willingness to comply. 10 virgins were tested to see if they were prepared for the return of the bridegroom. 10 lepers were tested to see if they would be thankful for all Jesus had done for them.
Interestingly and very purposefully the tithe is 10%. God wants to know if you will love and trust money or if you will love and trust Him. The only place we find in Scripture where God gives us the opportunity to test him is with the tithe.
Mal 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. NIV
The tithe is clearly not merely an Old Testament concept. It was part of the Law but it is a principle from God that predated the Law when Abram tithed to Melchizedek. Jesus didn’t come to do away with the Law but to fulfill it and in Matt 23 Jesus clearly endorsed the tithe.
Tithing is giving our first and our best to God. It requires faith to give our first. But in doing so God responds!
When we love, serve and give sacrificially our world becomes a better place! The willingness of our church family to follow the example of Jesus and sacrificially love, serve and give leaves the world a better place.
DISCUSSION GUIDE FOR COMMUNITY GROUP LEADERS
1. Start by inviting everybody to share something they have recently read in their personal time with God or something God has been stirring in their hearts.
When we are spiritually healthy it unlocks supernaturally abilities from God in our lives. Spending time in prayer and in God’s Word alone with God enriches us. Being enriched by God enables us to effectively enrich the lives of others.
2 Cor 1:4 He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. MSG
2. It is our willingness to share with others that releases what God has done in our lives into our world. What are some of the things that keep us from considering and meeting the needs of those around us on a daily basis?
Read this story that was shared at church recently:
Shortly after World War II American soldiers spoke of the great sadness coming from the orphaned children starving in the streets of the war-torn cities in Europe.
One soldier shared how he saw a little boy with his nose pressed to the window of a pastry shop. The cook was preparing doughnuts. The hungry boy stared in silence, watching every move. The soldier’s heart went out to the orphan. “Son . . . would you like some of those?”
The boy was startled. “Oh, yes, would I!” The American stepped into the shop, bought a dozen donuts, came out and gave them to the boy. As the soldier turned to walk away, he felt a tug on his coat. He looked back and heard the child ask quietly:
“Mister . . . are you God?”
We are never more like God than when we give.
3. If time and money were no object what is something you would like to do to enrich the lives of others?
When we are enriched by God and generous like Jesus the world becomes a better place. We always must start with what we have. God always works with what we do have. He never works with what we don’t have. What is in your hand?
2 Cor 9:11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. NIV
4. As you conclude have each person share one person they plan to encourage or bless in some way this next week. Take the time to pray for these people by name asking God to prepare their hearts to see Him through our actions.