9: Offerings of Gratitude – Discussion Starters

  1. “Where your treasure is…” Are you tempted to smile at the description of moths and rust representing the ultimate destruction of what we value on earth? They are destructive, and thieves are probably more so and have always been a major source of destruction of important possessions, including money, since sin entered this world. Given a few minutes, could you could fill a page with destructive forces we encounter today that weren’t around two thousand years ago? Considering how much God gives to His children today, should it be a handicap to us to send some of what He gives us to a place designated by the church so that others can be helped from His blessings to us?
  2. “Stewards of the Grace of God” We don’t deserve grace, do we? What does Peter say in the lesson for this week about how the angels in heaven value God’s gift of grace? What value would the Bible, the cross, and other components of salvation have without the abundance of grace that God gives us? Does God expect us to give everything we receive back to Him to support His work in this world? How should the church deal with individuals who want to be members but don’t want to give financial support to God’s work?
  3. Our best offering. Imagine you are at the table when Mary breaks open the alabaster box. How valuable do you think her gift to Jesus was? Can we give gifts to God of comparable value? What about intangible gifts like dedication of your life and talents? What was Mary’s motivation to give Jesus this expensive gift? A. to show her love to the disciples; B. to let others know she was not as poor as they thought she was; C. to express her gratitude for what Jesus had done for her; D. to start a pattern of giving to support the evangelistic work that was just beginning. Explain your answer.
  4. The motives of the heart.  Have you ever known people in the church who seemed to give their all to God but before long faded away and finally disappeared? Why does this happen? Look at Paul’s advice to the Corinthians in chapter 4, especially verses 14 and 15. Can you think if any opportunities in your church when you were (or will be) able to give to fill the need of members and then accept their giving to you out of their abundance at a later time? How would you explain a key point in the lesson, that all of our giving will be on a continuing line ranging from ego to altruism? Do you agree that this fight–between selfishness and ego–is fought more often than any other spiritual fight? What can we do about that?
  5. The experience of giving. Suppose you have $5,000 or more that you decide with great joy to give to God’s church and work. Will that gift affect your faith in God? If so, how? Can money buy faith? What is self-sacrificing love? Do you long to have an abundance of that kind of love? Is there such a thing as a well-meaning member ending up in extreme poverty? Or will God supply our need whatever our gifts may be? How often does it happen that church members give “too much”? How often do we find that most church members are not giving enough? What are Christians missing when they choose not to give a measured amount of their wealth and income according to Scripture?   
 
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons