← Back to Study Guides
The Joy of Generosity | Part 3: How Should We Give?
December 12, 2022
41And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
In our previous discussion on the Joy of Generosity, we have looked into the what and the why of Christian giving. This week, we turn to the how. As the title indicates, in this video Jason provides some practical suggestions with respect to Christian generosity. Christians are called to give: 1) freely, not under compulsion, 2) responsively to specific need, not haphazardly, and 3) in radical proportions, not meagerly. The exact phrases used in the Bible are: Everyone must give: 1) “according to one’s ability” [Acts 11:29], 2) “as any had need” [Acts 4:35], and 3) “even beyond one’s means” [2 Corinthians 8:3].
In Mark 12:41-44, we see Jesus talk about the generosity of a poor widow who gave two pennies as offering. According to Jesus, this poor widow’s offering was more generous than others—including the religious leaders—as the widow gave “all that she had” (Mark 12:44). While others gave out of their excess, the widow gave what was essential for her daily sustenance. We can learn an important principle from the poor widow’s story: our giving has to be generous, and our generosity has to come from the heart—voluntarily, wisely, systematically, and regularly.
To discover and experience Jesus Christ in our midst
To cultivate mutually encouraging relationships
To participate in God’s mission to the world
Gracious God, we give you thanks for drawing near, through the birth your Son, Jesus. Help us draw near to you, as we prepare our hearts and our world for the justice and peace you bring. Guide our preparations for Christmas, as we share the good news with those who suffer, and as we offer our friendship to those who are alone. Move within our hearts, as we make a way for your coming, by forgiving others as we have been forgiven. Come, Spirit of God; be born in us anew, that we may live in your mercy and your grace. Amen.
Responsive Prayer—Based on Luke 1
Our souls magnify the Lord.
Our spirits rejoice in God our Savior.
The Mighty One has done great things for us.
Holy is God’s name.
God’s mercy is ever near, from generation to generation.
God’s strength scatters the proud, but lifts the humble of heart.
God’s love fills us up, nourishing our hungry souls.
God’s grace has called us here, strengthening our lives of faith.
1. In the video, Jason answers the question “how to give generously” by enumerating three essential principles. What are they? Which of the three principles impacted you the most and why?
2. In 2 Corinthians 8:12 Paul writes, “If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” What does Paul mean by this? How does biblical generosity inform both our heart and intellect (wisdom)?
3. In 1 Corinthians 16:2, Paul encourages the Corinthians to put aside a sum of money in accordance with one’s income every time the congregation gathers for worship. Why is it important for us to give systematically? How is systematic giving more beneficial than spontaneous giving?
4. From the poor widow’s story from Mark 12:41-44, we learn that our giving has to be generous, and our generosity has to come from the heart. According to Jason, why is it vital for us to understand that “why we give is as important as what we give?”
5. In the video, Jason encourages us to ask several self-diagnostic questions to assess the condition of our heart. What are those questions? Which of those questions impacted you the most?
6. How does regular “tasting of the power of the gospel” help foster the joy of generosity in us?
7. What is the biggest takeaway for you from this series on the joy of generosity?
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Go in Advent hope and peace.