NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.
Bible Passages: 2 Corinthians 9:1-15
— When people hear the word “giving” or “offering,” how might they respond and what might their responses reveal about themselves?
— How might a person’s giving practices bring honor to God?
Food for thought:
Imagine enjoying breakfast at your favorite café with a group of friends. After eating, you notice that one of your friends leaves a tip that is obviously larger than the cost of the meal. The waiting staff was attentive, but you are not convinced that they were that attentive. You just can’t help yourself so you ask him if he cashed in an investment, received an inheritance, or had been hiding his wealth from the rest of the group. The friend chuckles and reminds you that a person need not be wealthy to be generous; they need only be generous to be generous.
Paul had presented the Corinthian believers with an opportunity and plan for helping the believers in Jerusalem. The Corinthians were to take an offering on the first day of each week, with people giving as God blessed them (1 Corinthians 16:1-4). The time had come for the offering to be delivered, so Paul reminded them again of their commitment to help these believers. He reminded them that their gifts would prompt the recipients to honor God as a result. The recipients would be encouraged and the givers would be lifted up before the Father in prayer (2 Corinthians 9:14).
Sometimes we settle for less than the best. We are content with giving so that our needs will be met in return. While it is true that God fulfills our needs, we settle for our physical needs being met when we could have much more, namely prayer on our behalf. We would rather have a newer car than have our name placed in front of the One who holds eternity in His hands.
God does not need to be reminded of our names, but we need to be reminded that He hears the prayers of those who worship Him. Prayers of thanksgiving being offered to the Father, with us being identified as an agent of His grace, far outweigh any temporal item we may gain here on earth. Godly giving serves as a vehicle for us to focus on the eternal, honoring God in the process.
Explore the Bible
Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/ExploreTheBible.