A Generous Life: Book Study – Chapter 6

19 February, 2015

Second Corinthians 8:9 tells us, “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 you might become rich.” Jesus gives us a radical infusion of grace. He sets us free to stop living self-protected and self-centered lives and to instead live a life of generosity that flows from his own abundance.

He shares with us the abundance of the Trinity. The Father, Son and Spirit live in an economy of abundance. There is always enough with God and there always will be enough. He gives to us abundantly and we are radically transformed by it.

640px-Conversion_on_the_Way_to_Damascus-Caravaggio_(c.1600-1)

Paul’s conversion on the Way to Damascus – Caravaggio c.1600

Think of the Apostle Paul, God’s generous outpouring of grace radically changed him. He went from living a life of self-protection to one of self-sacrifice. He lived generously with his life because God was generous with him. That lavish grace freed him to love like Jesus, and it sets us free to be generous people who love, bless, and heal our own communities in the name of Jesus.

Study Questions

We were created to reflect God and his way of being. If he is never self-centered but always other-centered and self-giving. What does this mean for us? In what ways do you reflect God well in these areas? In what areas do you see the need to be more like God?

2. “What if we found life not in trying to get everything we want but in giving away everything we have? What if life is in generosity because God is a God of generosity? What if we were made to live fully when we live in his generosity?” (92). These are questions asked in this chapter. What is your response?

3. This chapter quotes the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 8:9 (see p. 92). Paul understood the radical infusion of grace from God to his beloved, because Paul experienced that grace. When God met him on the road to Damascus, Paul’s paradigm shifted. He no longer lived a life of self-protection but one marked by amazing generosity. Later in 2 Corinthians 12:15 Paul writes “I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well.” He even realizes that though he loves them more, they seem to love him less. But this doesn’t matter to Paul, because he is not spending himself in order to gain anything; he is giving himself out of his gratitude for God’s abundant generosity and love. Do you think God desires this kind of paradigm shift for all of his beloved children? Describe one way that shift would change the way you live.

4. We can live generous lives because God has been generous with us. We live a generous life out of the abundance of Christ. How have you experienced the generosity of the Father, Son, and Spirit? Where has God placed people in your life to extend his generosity to you in tangible acts of grace and kindness that deeply met your needs?

Previous Chapters

1. http://rickmckinley.net/the-cry-for-freedom

2. http://rickmckinley.net/live-fully

3. http://rickmckinley.net/god-is-love

4. http://rickmckinley.net/being-the-beloved-book-study-chapter-4

5. http://rickmckinley.net/a-grateful-rebel

6 Responses to “A Generous Life: Book Study – Chapter 6”

  1. Erica

    1. I’ve always had a heart for being generous, but I believe it’s twisted with perfectionism and it never seems to happen. I’ve always dreamed that when I became an adult I would have a beautiful house where people could stay over, and I would cook things on pinterest and offer lemonade and we could sit over looking a massive garden. The problem is I’ve still been waiting for that incredible house and never found a way to give up the small things I had. It’s like when I prayed for a nice car and promised Jesus I would give people rides in it, but then it was too messy and now it’s full of carseats. I always think I’ll give when I have, and my standards are too high.
    I also have an issue of getting emotionally attached to items. I put so much thought and time into what I buy that when I don’t need it I also can’t let it go. For lent I decided to get rid of a bag of things, for each of the 40 days. It’s shown me a lot about myself.

    4. I came out of a rough spot a few years ago and during that time God showed himself to me through my home community. Twice they unexpectedly gave generously when I was in a desperate place financially. When I look back at God’s silence I realize he was loud and clear, taking care of me through my friends. I also was going through some intense grief, and individuals from my HC set up “work Fridays” and we’d all bring our laptops and work on various projects, or watch movies. Sometimes we’d go on daytrips. It was my reason for getting out of bed during the darkest months of my life. They literally sat with me, so I could make it through the day. I will never forget what God did for me.

    Reply
    • Rick McKinley

      Erica, you bring up such a common problem. We think we will be more generous when we have more to give, but it rarely happens. The great thing about God’s love is that there is always enough and always will be enough for us to freely give it to others.
      It sounds like God has taught you a lot about that love and generosity through your home group! Such a great example.

      Reply
  2. Heidi Dahlin

    3. Wow. This chapter knocked me flat. I can see how the idea of scarcity causes me to hold on tight and be cautious in giving–not monetarily, but in the area of time. I fiercely guard my time. I work full time; there are endless chores, time is scarce. A friend asked me if I would help her sew something this week. I froze in horror at the thought. “When will I fit THAT in?” I said no…then read this lesson. I was not being generous. The fact is that it would not have put me out that much to help her. I could have been Jesus to her this week, but I held on to my time jealously and acted most ungenerously. I need to change to the mindset that I can trust God that if I am willing to give away all that I have, there will always be enough left for my own needs.

    Reply
    • Rick McKinley

      Time is a hard thing to give away because it often inconveniences us more than giving away money. Thank you for your response. It reminds us that we often have more to give than we think we do. It also serves as a good reminder that the command to love our neighbor is something we do through daily, practical, opportunities.

      Reply
  3. Ruben J. Alvarado

    We are created to reflect and be the image of God. What does this mean? It means to me that I need to be generous with the gift of love he has bestowed on us. We must be a light to others. We must so reflect God’s way of being that others want it in their lives also. If the image of God we reflect is one that displays self -love, self protection and self-giving, it will not attract others to follow God’s generosity and abundant love. One also hopes that others would see our gratefulness to our generous Lord. They need to see our gratitude in our generosity not only in tangible things but in our love, time, effort, and grace. One personal area I have difficulty reflecting God is in a tangible called money. I can relate to what Rick says about how our money gives us security, a form of self-protection. I also agree when he says giving away our money makes us fearful. Another area of difficulty of being generous, is when a disease, the symptoms and pain makes us turn inward. We look inward and we feel there is not enough to be generous. With a mind-set of scarcity and self-protection, we hold on to our time, fears, doubts, money and energy. Thus, we fail in bringing others into God’s abundant and generous love. We need to be so Spirit-filled that we let it overflow to others. We need not bind it with our insecurities, and frustrations. Our gentleness and patience in relating with others can be dismantled in one moment of uncontrollable anger. Others will be not drawn to God’s way of being. Sometimes, I’ve observed those who are ill and reflect God in a Christ-like way, that others are drawn to them because of the quiet strength they have displayed. They want that for themselves. Others, I have observed are always smiling and content in whatever situation they are in. Sometimes, I see those who are drawn to them react in two ways. There are those who follow with enthusiasm and others who are like the rich man when confronted with the price of following Christ, even if he had followed all the commandments, simply turned
    away . Reflecting God’s generosity in my life is difficult as long as I bind his love, his generosity, and his Spirit. I need to trust in God’s abundance so that I may live so fully that others will want to be the Beloved.

    Reply
    • Rick McKinley

      Great response Ruben. Your perspective of being ill and your desire to reflect God in the midst of that instead of turning inward is helpful. Even in those times we can be turned outward and can reflect God to others. Thank you for this great reminder.

      Reply

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