Open Hands, Open Hearts: Learning to be Liberal

March 26, 2017 | Tom Swanson | 2 Corinthians 8:1-15


Getting Acquainted

1) Imagine that you were quite wealthy and had $1,000,000 to give away. If you are limited to only three recipients, where would you give your money? Now imagine you aren’t so wealthy and had only $10 to give away. How would you give that money?

2) Tell about a time when you saw someone else give or act in a very generous way. What was it about that act of generosity that particularly impressed or touched you?

Getting into the Bible

3) Read Matthew 6:1-4, Luke 21:1-4, 2 Corinthians 9:6-9, Ephesians 4:25-28 and 1 Timothy 6:17-19. All of these passages contain some vital principles about Christian giving. What truths do you notice from each passage that should inform how we give, why we give, when we give and so on?

4) Read Exodus 35:4-10, Exodus 36:2-7, 1 Chronicles 29:1-9 and 2 Corinthians 9:10-15. These passages all look at people who are giving or considering giving to God’s work. Look at these verses and note the impact the giving had on the givers. How were these givers challenged? How did they grow? How were they enriched by giving? Have you seen those same things work out in your life?

Working it out in Life

5) Was there anything in this last Sunday’s sermon that you especially want to talk about as a group?

6) Some Christians strongly suggest that Christians ought to give a tithe (10% percent) of their income to God’s work. What do you see as the advantages of approaching the question of how much we should give in that way? Do you see disadvantages in answering the ‘how much’ question in that way?

7) 2 Corinthians 8 strongly emphasizes the idea of giving as an expression of grace (see 8:1, 4, 6, 7, 9). If grace can be defined as undeserved favor, how do you understand that concept? Who gives grace and who receives grace when Christians are faithfully sharing from what God has entrusted to them? 

Digging Deeper

8) Looking back on your own life and spiritual journey, have there been times when you have in particular enjoyed a real sense of joy and purpose in your giving? What brought that about? If you have also had times when that was not the case, what do you think was the reason for that?

9) Pastor Tom talked about generosity in our giving, consistency in our giving, giving to bring about a sense of equality and understanding about reciprocity in giving. Which of those areas proves to be the most difficult for you to understand? Which is the hardest for you to work out or take account of in life?

Series title: Open Hands, Open Hearts

Message 1: March 26, 2017

Message title: Learning to be Liberal

Message Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8:1-15

Message summary: Everything belongs to God, as we saw a couple of weeks ago. There is not one square inch of creation or our lives upon which He does not lay claim. If that’s true (and it is!), then life begins to take on a completely different focus. What we so easily consider our own stuff, much more clearly belongs to Him. Our perceptions start to change from being an owner to being a manager of what belongs to another. Even in those areas of life where we tend to hang on very tightly, we start to realize that God’s kingdom principles ask us to reconsider our attitudes.  


1) Generosity in giving   8:1-9

2) Consistency in giving   8:10-12

3) Equality through giving   8:13-15

4) Reciprocity in giving   8:13-15