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Humility and Wisdom of Jesus: Part 1—Mark 10:35-45
Mark 12:38-44 (NIV)
38 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Our uncommon generosity flows from our heart of worship not our abundance of wealth.
1. Give worshipfully.
They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces… They devour widows’ houses … But a poor widow…
And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. 2 Corinthians 8:5 (NIV)
Then the word of the Lord came to him: 9 “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.”… 15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. 1 Kings 17:8–16 (NIV)
2. Give sacrificially.
They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:6–8 (NIV)
3. The Table as a place of uncommon generosity.
...out of her poverty, put in everything
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9
Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:25–26
BIBLICAL THEMES OF UNCOMMON GENEROSITY
GOD IS A GENEROUS GOD
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights. James 1:17 (See Also: Psalms 85:12, Psalms 104:28, Deuteronomy 1:25, Matthew 7:11, Psalms 34:10, Psalms 103:5, Psalms 107:9 Luke 11:13)
WE GIVE BECAUSE OF GOD’S GENEROSITY
You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11 (See Also: 1 Chronicles 29:14, Genesis 12:2, Luke 12:48)
WE GIVE OUT OF OBEDIENCE TO GOD
“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.” Malachi 3:10 (See Also: Deuteronomy 26:9–11)
WE GIVE OUT OF FAITHFUL STEWARDSHIP OF GOD’S GIFTS
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Psalms 24:1 (See Also: Acts 20:35, Matthew 25:23, Philippians 4:17, 2 Corinthians 9:6)
WE GIVE TO PUT OUR TRUST IN GOD AND NOT OURSELVES
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (See Also: Proverbs 11:28,
1 Timothy 6:17-19)
WE GIVE AS AN ACT OF WORSHIP WITH JOY
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (See Also: Matthew 6:21, Proverbs 3:9,
Small Group Questions
CONNECT WITH GOD (choose one of these practices that best suits your group or use a practice from a previous week)
- Lord Open Unto Me: Have everyone get comfortable in their seats and close their eyes. Slowly read (or have someone prepare and read) this prayer from Howard Thurman.
Open unto me — light for my darkness.
Open unto me — courage for my fear.
Open unto me — hope for my despair.
Open unto me — peace for my turmoil.
Open unto me — joy for my sorrow.
Open unto me — strength for my weakness.
Open unto me — wisdom for my confusion.
Open unto me — forgiveness for my sins.
Open unto me — love for my hates.
Open unto me — thy Self for my self.
Lord, Lord, open unto me!
- One Minute: Set a timer for one minute. Sit in silence, letting go of the anxieties of the day, the worries of tomorrow, and the urgency of the present. Allow the anxious thoughts to drift away and focus your heart on Jesus Christ.
- Breath Prayer: This ancient form of prayer is a reminder of the nearness of God in everyday life and his provision–even in each breath we take. As we breathe in, we pray in our mind and heart, Lord Jesus Christ… and as we exhale, pray, have mercy on me. Do this in silence, together at your own pace, until everyone has prayed/breathed this ten times.
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
Journaling: Many spiritual practices this year will require a journal. If you are a small group leader be prepared with paper and pen for those who are without. Please remember that there is no right way to journal. Journals can be intermittent, upside down, written, drawn, or doodled. They are a way to capture what God is doing in you over time. Journaling with your small group will include a prompt; however, in your time alone with God, allow the Spirit to be your leader.
Biblical Themes of Uncommon Generosity: Prayerfully read through the 6 Biblical Themes of Uncommon Generosity on the sermon outline. Choose one that stands out to you and write it down in your journal. Pick one of the scriptures connected to the theme you chose and look it up in your Bible. Write down the verse word for word. Journal for 3 minutes, reflecting on what the verse tells you about God’s generosity and our response to it. Choose one or more of the following questions and discuss with your group:
- Which biblical theme stood out to you?
- What do you suspect God is trying to teach you about generosity?
- Do you consider yourself a generous person? Why or why not?
- Do you consider God a generous God? Why or why not?
CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Read the passages and review the sermon outline. Then select the best questions or customize the questions for your group)
- Read Mark 12:38–44
- Read the main points from the sermon outline.
- What topic in the sermon and scripture stood out to you?
- How would you characterize the teachers of the law and are there any modern day equivalents?
- Which of the behaviors listed of the teachers of the law do you find most egregious and reprehensible?
- What do you suspect the poor widow was thinking and feeling as she put in such a small offering into the treasury when others had put in so much and while Jesus and a crowd were watching?
- What does giving out of wealth mean as opposed to giving out of poverty?
- Why would the widow give everything she had to live on?
CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD (select one question for discussion)
- Which trait of the teachers of the law are you most susceptible to fall into?
- Do you give out of wealth, poverty, or somewhere else?
- Who in your life is an example of generous and humble living?
- If God wants us to put everything in for his Kingdom, what non-monetary offerings should be included?
- If we are called to use our financial means to take care of the orphans and widows (James 1:27), how does this happen today and how can the Church help?
- Share one practical way you can demonstrate humble generosity this week.
- How can you give with joy this week and beyond?
End your time in prayer writing down any prayer requests in your journal. Take a moment to note any prayer requests that God has answered from previous weeks and offer praise to the Lord.