Matthew 6:1-4; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
This Sunday is the Brass Band Festival and we will not be meeting for Sunday School. I don’t know if you will skip this lesson, combine with another, or rearrange the schedule.
“When I talk about giving being the purpose of your life, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not talking about token giving—the kind most frequently practiced by people in the pew. And outside the pew, I might add. I’m talking about generous giving—even outlandish giving, giving that often defies rational thinking. Giving that may go beyond tithing (the giving of 10 percent of your income away). This kind of giving is at times spontaneous, at other times carefully calculated and planned, but always fun and fulfilling. You may be skeptical, but I dare you to try it.
Saint Paul described this kind of giving in 2 Corinthians 9:7: ‘You must each make up your mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully.’ ”
(Stephen B. McSwain, The Giving Myths: Giving Then Getting the Life You’ve Always Wanted, Smyth & Helwys, 2007, p. 41)
Reading the Scripture
Here are some ways you might read the scripture or tell the story:
o The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible (“presented by a stellar ensemble of today’s top-name actors, musicians, clergy, directors, and award-winning producers.” Available from Keith).
o Faith Comes by Hearing: You’ve Got the Time (Dramatized New Testament that we used a few years ago during Lent. Available in the church office.)
o The Gospel According to Matthew: The Visual Bible The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible (Dramatized video movie, word for word from the NIV text, though this particular text doesn’t have much drama to it. Available from Keith or on this web page).
o WatchWord Bible, New Testament on DVD is available in the library. (These videos display and read the text in Contemporary English Version with background pictures, video and sound. Not exactly dramatized or all that exciting, but could be another way to read the text.)
• Cotton Patch Version of Matthew 6:1-4:
“See to it that your effort to do right is not based on a desire to be popular. If it is, you’ll get no help from your spiritual Father. For instance, when you make a gift to charity, don’t make a lot of noise about it, like the phonies do at church and at civic clubs, so as to be praised by their cronies. The truth is, such praise is all they’ll get out of it. But you, when you give to charity, don’t pat yourself on the back, so that your gift might be truly secret. And your Father, who sees secrets, will respond to you.”
• Giving: Remember the Fearless Generosity emphasis? You may want to take another look at this resource that we used in the fall of 2010. We have several copies of The Giving Myths left if you need one.
o The year 2009 was a down year for us financially followed by a strong giving year last year. What impact might our Fearless Generosity study and emphasis have had on our giving patterns?
o As of May 27, heading into summer, we were behind budget. Not meeting our budget by the end of the year means there are ministries we planned as a church that we will not be able to fulfill. Do we need to improve our giving as a church? How?
• Coins: I have placed some replica New Testament era coins in the library, if anyone would like to use them as you talk about giving in the Bible. I have bookmarked pictures of coins in, The New Testament World in Pictures, and placed it in the library. See especially page 140. I have also placed a link to some pictures of coins.
• Poor: The Teaching Guide has an activity, “Local Initiative” (p. 32). Listed below are some groups we partner with, that work with the poor in some way, and some church members you could contact for more information or perhaps to speak to your class. See descriptions in the Glocal Ministries Flyer and on the Glocal Ministries page.
o Salvation Army: Harry Nickens, Ken Wall, JoAnn Rice, Shirley Clark
o Habitat for Humanity: Lee Fowler, Kitty Baird, Connie Mason
o Nada: Brenda Farmer, Keith Stillwell, any number of our members who have been to Nada
o Morocco Refugees: Keith Stillwell, Shawna Stomberger, other members
o Soup’s On Us: Doris Cessna, Stephanie Griffin, Kathy White, and other members who participate
o Hope Clinic: Marian Gibson, Alicia Nickens
o Benevolence through the church office: Cari Rice, Tommy Valentine
• Church budget & Glocal Ministries Budget Flyer: Copies of the Church Budget and The Glocal Missions Flyer are provided. The Teaching Guide suggests a “Congregational Giving Analysis” (p. 32). Whether or not you use this activity, a careful consideration of our budget and our Glocal Missions Offering would be very helpful to the church and relevant to this lesson. A member of the Finance Committee, chaired by Bill Peniston, or a member of the Missions Leadership Team, chaired by Ernest Martin could answer questions or offer explanation about these budgets.
• The Teaching Guide, “Images of Poverty” (p. 30), suggests showing clips from some movies that deal with poverty. I have included some clips on this web page. If you have access to any of these movies you may be able to find better clips.
• The Teaching Guide offers an illustration, “Forgetting to Release.” Trying to control your offering after giving it is like forgetting to release the bowling ball when bowling. Check out the funny video clip on this web site of an actual bowler who did not let go of the bowling ball at the end of his approach.
• The hymn, “Because I Have Been Given Much,” is number 414 in the 1975 Baptist Hymnal available in the library. We have multiple copies in fellowship hall.
I have set aside a shelf in the library with resources for Sunday School teachers. I will place there resources of general interest and some specifically applicable to current lessons.
• For additional commentary on the text see these commentaries in our library:
o Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
o Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988)
• In Keith and Tommy’s offices:
o The Gospel of Matthew, Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary, Ben Witherington (Smyth & Helwys, 2006)
• The Giving Myths: Giving Then Getting the Life You’ve Always Wanted, Stephen B. McSwain (Smyth & Helwys, 2007). Multiple copies available in the library.
Matthew 6:1-4; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15