TiO 45 – The Art of Relationship – The Lost Art of Generosity
The Main Idea
Generosity is often seen strictly as being about money. But generosity is really a Kingdom value, not about the particular action or object you are being generous in: it is about living life with open hands.
Warm Up Questions: (Choose 1 or 2)
Q1: What is your favourite fast-food restaurant? Why?
Q2: If you had two chicken sandwiches and someone asked you for a bite of one, what would your initial reaction be? Does it matter who is asking?
Q3: How do you feel about organ donation?
Dig a Little Deeper
Jesus was generous in all that he did. Because we are called to be like Jesus, we are called to follow his example of generosity.
Read Proverbs 11:25 together.
Q1: What does this proverb imply about generosity? What do you think about what the proverb says?
Read Mark 5:21-43
This passage contains two stories of healing, one within the other. The first is the story of Jairus and his daughter, the second is the story of a woman who had a chronic illness, a bleeding disorder of some kind. First, look at the facts, the information that and reader of this story would understand.
Q2: Looking at the facts of the first story, without any thought to motivation of anyone or information not explicitly given, talk about the story of the healing of Jairus’ daughter
Q3: Again, looking at just the facts as presented by Mark—the gospel writer, not the preacher—talk about the story of the woman who was healed.
Second, consider motivation and facts not in evidence, that is, things that we believe or understand to be true despite the fact that they are not specifically talked about.
Q4: What do you believe to be true about Jairus, his character, motivation, standing in the community, etc?
Q5: What does the story of Jairus and his daughter show us about Jesus?
Q6: What do you believe to be true about the woman with the hemorrhage, her character, motivation, standing in the community, etc?
Q7: What does the story of the healing of the woman show us about Jesus?
Mark (the preacher) gave us these two stories of healing to demonstrate the generosity of Jesus. One could argue that what Jesus did was not generous at all and that he did these things simply to serve his own interests. But, we know from Scripture that generosity was an essential characteristic of Jesus and from that generous place in his character, all of his actions flowed.
Read Philippians 2:1-11 together
Q8: How is the characteristic of generosity demonstrated in this passage?
If generosity is truly about living life with open hands then we must make constant efforts to ensure that this is the case: we hold everything with gentle grasp so that we can easily give things away.
Q1: Talk about some of the areas in which you can demonstrate generosity.
Q2: Are some areas easier for you to be generous in? Talk about those areas that are hard and easy.
Pray together that God would give you open hands, especially in those areas where you find it difficult to let go, and even with your chicken sandwiches.
The Depth (for optional study)
In this section we are providing an in-depth look into the scriptures that the message came out of. There are two critical steps in good interpretation of the Bible. First, we try to understand what the author meant when he wrote the words and how that would have been applied by the original audience. Second, we then take the principles that the original author was trying to get across to his audience and we apply those principles to our own lives. You may want to read some of these passages yourself and/or have people in your group read them together.
A generous person will be enriched,
and one who gives water will get water.
21When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.