Sunday School Notes 8-16-2015

Being a good steward

2 Corinthians 8:1-15

Opening Questions

  • What is stewardship?
    • Stewardship is what we do with what we have been given.
    • How do you think we can be good stewards?

2 Corinthians 8:1-15 (HCSB)

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God granted to the churches of Macedonia: During a severe testing by affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed into the wealth of their generosity. I testify that, on their own, according to their ability and beyond their ability, they begged us insistently for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints and not just as we had hoped. Instead, they gave themselves especially to the Lord, then to us by God’s will. So we urged Titus that just as he had begun, so he should also complete this grace to you. Now as you excel in everything- faith, speech, knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love for us- excel also in this grace.

I am not saying this as a command. Rather, by means of diligence of others, I am testing the genuineness of your love. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich. Now I am giving an opinion on this because it is profitable for you, who a year ago began not only to do something but also to desire it. But now finish the task as well, that just as there was eagerness to desire it, so there may also be a completion from what you have. For if the eagerness is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. It is not that there may be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality- at the present time your surplus is available for their need, so their abundance may also become available for our need, so there may be equality. As it has been written:

The person who gathered much did not have too much, and the person who gathered little did not have too little.

According to the above passage, what do you think it means to be a good steward?

  • Paul compared good stewardship with generosity.
    • Everything that we have, even if we are poor, is a gift from God.
    • Because God is generous as He gives to us, we ought to be generous as we give to others.
    • We honor God most when we are generous with what we have.
    • The first part of stewardship is generosity.
  • What are some things that God blesses you with that you could bless others with?
    • Care and love
    • Money, food, friendship?
    • Could you donate good clothes to the homeless or offer a meal?
    • Could you offer to help someone with his/her homework or give your time to tutor or coach?
  • This type of generosity requires us to use little of what we have been given for ourselves (might include time, money, stuff, talents and hobbies).

The genuineness of our love for God can be measured by our stewardship.

  • If I do not strive to be a good steward of what God has given me, what does that reveal about my love for Him?
    • Even though Jesus was rich, He became poor so that I might be rich in Him. He came from Heaven and died on a cross for me.
    • I insult Him when I don’t do the same for someone else.
  • Does being a good steward mean that we never get to live for ourselves?
    • What it means is that we always do more for others than we do for ourselves.

Why is it important that we strive to be good stewards?

  • Is it to create hardship for ourselves? NO!
  • It is so that there might be equality among people.
  • If we have more than we need and we choose to share, those with less than they need will be provided for.
  • Sharing really is caring!

Questions for class discussion

  • Why is it important to realize that everything we have ultimately belongs to God?
    • If it really belongs to God, should we have a problem sharing?
  • How does this understanding of stewardship differ from other views?
    • Stewardship may be seen by some as simply using resources like time and money wisely.
    • Here it actually centers around having a generous heart.
  • Is good stewardship a command from God, or is it a natural result of our pursuit of God?
    • Paul literally writes, “I am not saying this as a command” (v. 8).
    • Instead, he says that it is a measure of the love we have for God.
    • When we pursue God more, we become better stewards of what God has given us.

The challenge for our lives, then, is not to be a better steward, but to keep pursuing God and allow Him to shape us into better stewards of what He has given us.

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