What Do You Treasure?

Generous Giving Conference

In this 15-minute session from the Generous Giving Conference, Tim Killer uses Paul's words to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20 to diagnose why we have a difficult time being generous. Tim is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. He is a nationally recognized speaker and author of numerous best-selling books including The Reason for God  and  Prayer.

Acts 20:25-35 (ESV)

25And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again.26Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all,27for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.28Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.29I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;30and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.31Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.32And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.33I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.34You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me.35In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Why do you think Christians are often blind to their own lack of generosity?
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Tim observed that we're all treasuring something—that our money shows us what we're truly treasuring. What would your bank account say that you treasure most?
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"Every other treasure but Jesus will enslave you…What you treasure will run your life. You'll panic if you don't have it. You'll cheat. You'll lie. You'll stab in the back."

When have you felt enslaved by a treasure? Have you ever been enslaved without recognizing it? What happened?
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"Jesus is the one treasure that died to purchase you…All other treasures demand that you do anything to get them, but Jesus Christ did anything to get you."

Do you believe that you are God's treasure? What Scripture passages can you think of that point to the value God places on His children? (Here are two to start with: John 3:16; Ephesians 1:18)
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If you haven't already, take time to read the verses on your list from the previous question. How does recalling God's love for us and Christ's sacrifice on the cross impact your generosity?
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A generous life looks different for each person. Jesus made this point clear at the Temple treasury when He observed that two mites from a widow were worth far more than the large sums given by rich people. True generosity is not primarily a function of quantity, but a condition of the heart that springs from an understanding of what Christ has done. Watch this real-life story of Catherine, a bread maker whose remarkable generosity inspired others to give generously. 

At the end of the video, Catherine made a statement that gets at the heart of what Tim was teaching in his session. "We don't give in order to receive. We give because it's the nature of Jesus Christ. He gave us His life, so we have the DNA of Jesus Christ—of giving." 

The more you begin to see how precious you are in the sight of God—that Jesus lost everything on the cross so that He might spend eternity with you—the more that you'll see Him as your ultimate treasure. The more He becomes your ultimate treasure, the more generous you'll become.

For more from Generous Giving, or to attend an event in the future, visit www.generousgiving.org.