PREPARE TO BE: OUTRAGEOUSLY GENEROUS

Steps

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

The story of Zacchaeus is a favorite of children, probably because they can relate to someone being small and climbing a tree in order to see better.  However, Zacchaeus’ story is one with great implications for all of us, as his response to Jesus is a challenging example of outrageous generosity.

Pick one of the following statements and share with your group how you could complete it:

  • If I were taller, I would…
  • If I were thinner, I would…
  • If I were better looking, I would…
  • If I were single, I would…
  • If I had a better relationship with God, I would…
  • If I were married, I would…
  • If I had more talent, I would…
  • If I had more money, I would…

Read Luke 19:1-10. What description does Luke give of Zacchaeus?

What do you think motivated Zacchaeus to seek out Jesus?

Note the contrasting reactions in Luke 19:6 and 19:7. Why were ‘all the people’ upset?

According to gotquestions.org, “Jewish tax collectors like Zacchaeus were scorned by their countrymen for a couple of reasons: one, they were known for cheating the taxpayers; and, two, they worked for Rome. The other Jews saw Jewish tax collectors as collaborators with the enemy—traitors to their own people.” Read Matthew 9:9-13, Luke 7:44-48, and John 8:1-11.  What was Jesus’ attitude towards ‘outcasts’?  What does this teach you about how you should relate to those who are considered ‘objectionable’?

Zacchaeus gladly welcomed Jesus to his home, and at some point, out of the overflow of a full heart, he made an outrageously generous statement. In response to this, Jesus says that salvation has come to Zacchaeus’ house.  Since salvation comes through Christ alone, and not through works (Ephesians 2:8-9), how do you explain Jesus’ declaration to Zacchaeus?

Read Luke 18:18-27, and compare and contrast the responses of these two wealthy men (the ruler in Luke 18 and Zacchaeus in Luke 19). Do you think Zacchaeus’ response is an example of what Jesus was talking about in Luke 18:27?

Zacchaeus’ generosity was his way of responding to the presence of Jesus in his life. How might your generosity reflect Jesus’ presence in your life?

SCRIPTURE

1Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see Him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5When Jesus reached the spot, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6So he came down at once and welcomed Him gladly. 7All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10

APPLICATION

Pastor Joe shared on Sunday that we reflect our Owner, Who is a gracious and generous God.  Reflect on the following verses which share just a few of the things God has given to us.

  • Genesis 2:7
  • Micah 7:18
  • Zephaniah 3:17
  • John 3:16
  • John 14:16-18
  • Galatians 5:1
  • Ephesians 1:3-14
  • Ephesians 2:17-19
  • James 1:17

In response to His outrageous generosity, consider participating in the 90-Day Challenge:

There is a profound connection between how we use our money and our relationship with God. The Bible asks us to give our first and our best to God (Leviticus 27:30). We call the first a ‘tithe’, which means a tenth. We return to Him 10% (or more) of what He has given to us, since it already belongs to Him. We can choose to use what He has blessed us with to bless Kingdom efforts, or we can choose to spend it on ourselves. Tithing is an outward expression of putting God first. The 90-Day Challenge is a commitment based on Malachi 3:10: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” If you are not currently giving to Fellowship, start. If you are giving a little, give a little more. If you already tithe, discover what would happen if you became outrageously generous. For the next 90 days, give back to God through Fellowship. Be sure to use the offering envelopes (include your name) in the seat backs and Atrium. At the end of 90 days, if you feel that it was a waste of time, that God didn’t move in your life or He did not provide for your needs (Philippians 4:19), contact Jennifer D’Amato at Fellowship and ask for the amount you gave during the Challenge back. It will be returned, no questions asked.

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