We live in a consumer culture where people are trying to get as much stuff as they can for themselves. People will cut any corners they can in order to get the best house, the biggest toy, or the fullest bank account. People who joyfully share what God has given them with others are rare and unusual these days. They stand out from our culture that is more concerned with how much it can take, not what it can give. Believers who have come to understand how much they’ve been given joyfully give what they have in order to point others back to our generous God.
GENEROSITY: Joyfully sharing what God has given you.
MEMORY VERSE: “The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” PROVERBS 11:25 (NLT)
This Week’s Finish Line: Giving generously shows the world how God gives.
After God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, God told them to build Him a tabernacle. A tabernacle is basically a church that can be packed up and moved. God gave the people very specific instructions on what he wanted His tabernacle to be built with and look like. Where were they going to get all this stuff? Well, while they were leaving Egypt, the Egyptians had given them a wealth of gold, fabric, oil, and jewels, exactly the kind of things that were needed for this building project. Because they had seen God’s amazing generosity of freeing them from Egypt, the people of Israel freely and joyfully gave, not only the physical supplies they needed to build the tabernacle, but also their time and talents to make everything just like God had instructed.
- Look at Exodus 35:20-34. Did Moses force the people to give to the tabernacle? How do you know? What words were used to describe the people’s hearts? (stirred, moved, willing, eager)
- Why do you think it was important to God that the people had generous hearts and didn’t just give because they were forced? (God always cares more about your heart than the things that you do. He wants you to know how much He loves you and longs for you to have a loving relationship with Him. Then your generosity would naturally flow from your love for God and for others.)
- What talents had God given some people so that they could use them to help build the tabernacle? (Some could spin the yarn into fabric, build with stones and wood, create art from gold, silver, and bronze. There were engravers, designers, and embroiderers.)
- What kind of gifts did the Israelites give to help build the tabernacle for God? (jewelry, fancy fabric, gems, oil, spices)
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Teacher: Meal Time
Other nations around Israel built temples and palaces like this too, but the people were forced by their kings to give or were told that their gods would be angry if they did not give. How do you think Israel’s joyful giving looked to those nations around Israel? What could the other nations learn about the one true God by watching the Israelites, God’s people?
Friend: Drive Time
As you're commuting to and from school or other planned activities, you’ll likely notice several billboards and other ads promoting big in-store events and sales. When we think of generosity, we often think of material things, but being generous doesn’t just mean giving things or money. It can also mean using the gifts God gives you to serve others and work for Him. Help each other see how God has uniquely gifted you and brainstorm ways your family members can use those gifts serving others.
Spend time telling your child how you’ve seen them put generosity into practice with their time, words, actions, possessions, etc. Then pray together thanking God for His generosity and ask Him for the ability to see opportunities for you to be generous with others as a way to glorify Him.
How’s your family’s Thankfulness Calendar coming along? Whether you’ve been adding to it daily, or you’re just jumping in, it’s never too late to spend time making a list of all of the amazing things God has given you! Every day until Thanksgiving, have every person in your family share one thing God has given them that they are thankful for and write it on the calendar. See how full you can get your calendar and be sure to praise God for how generous He always is with us.
Thank God for the examples of generous people in your life. Ask Him to give you a heart that is willing and eager to share whatever He has given you. Thank Him for the opportunities He gives you to be generous and show the world how He is generous with us.
Next week we will continue with the character trait, GENEROSITY!
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