Activate - September 4


RADICAL GENEROSITY
 
Passage: Luke 8:1-3
 
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
 
Insight:
 
All of the profits from the purchase of this book go directly to Compassion International®, an organization that is releasing children from poverty. Compassion International® sponsors over 1.2 million children in 26 countries.9 One of their prayers is that these numbers would triple in the near future. As we put our children to bed at night, we pray with them for children who don’t have beds, medical care, or enough food to survive. God is using Compassion International® to spread the grace of Jesus around the world.
 
Even though Jesus created everything in the world, He still relies on other people to support His ministry financially. Why would He do this? It is a demonstration of His humility. But more important, it gives people the opportunity to participate in His ministry in a tangible way. The women who supported Jesus in this passage gave with grateful hearts. They truly wanted to give back to the One who healed and rescued them. And they could see how their financial gifts were being used to reach other people. God wants His grace to flow through all of our relationships. There was a deep conviction that the best investment of their money was to support Jesus. Our time, energy, and finances are just a few ways for us to display His relational grace. God’s pure joy comes to those who are generous.
 
Application:
 
Joanna sets the example for us in this passage in terms of generous giving:
 
1) It was risky. Joanna’s husband was the manager of Herod’s household, and Herod was violently opposed to Jesus. If Herod found out that his money and paychecks were going to support Jesus, he would have been furious to know this fact. Ultimately, Joanna was risking her life to give financially to Jesus. She also gave her time and willingness to travel as they journeyed from town to town.
 
2) It was rewarded. In Luke 24:1-10, we read about the resurrection of Jesus. After watching Jesus die on the cross (Luke 23: 44-49), Joanna was one of the first people to see Jesus appear after exiting the tomb. Jesus was risen, and He wanted Joanna to know this miracle firsthand. What a privilege! Jesus had not forgotten her generosity and service.
 
Opportunities:
 
Even a little money can go a long way—here is a list of some ideas:
1) Give a generous percentage of the money you earn to good causes.
2) Take someone out to lunch to show God’s love in a practical way.
3) Make some food bags and give them out to people in need.
4) Buy a Bible for someone in a different country (www.gfa.org).
5) Surprise someone by unexpectedly paying their bill at a store.
 
Questions:
 
1) How have you used your money, time, and energy to serve God?
2) Why is generosity and risky giving rewarded by God?
3) Does God need money, or is there a greater purpose?
4) What helps you give lavishly to others?
 
Deeper Study:
 
2 Corinthians 9:6-15. If you sow generously, you will reap generously.
Proverbs 28:19-27. Hard work and generosity to the poor please God.
Malachi 3:7-12. Blessings await the person who gives to the Lord—don’t rob Him.
Matthew 6:1-24. Don’t draw attention to your giving; store up treasures in heaven.
Luke 21:1-4. Sacrificially give with a cheerful heart—it will be rewarded.
 
Prayer:
 
God, You know how often we are selfish. Forgive me, when I am stingy. I want to see the needs around me and make a difference. Thank You for challenging me to be generous. Please help me to be radical in my giving and wise in my spending. I know You will guide me, and I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

For more from Pastor Jesse Bradley and Activate Media Ministries, visit www.activatelife.org

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