Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. The Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Carnegies are some of the most well-known American philanthropic families from the last century. They gave away millions of dollars to better the lives of many. Can you name some more modern benevolent individuals?
2. Why do you think people like this give so generously in the manner they do?
Read Philippians 4:10-16
1. Where do you find satisfaction and fulfillment? Being content means limiting ourselves in requirements, desires, or actions. Discuss Paul’s secret for being content in every situation.
2. When Paul was imprisoned in Rome, the state did not pay for room and board. If people did not regularly send provisions, prisoners had no clothes, blankets, writing utensils, or food. Paul had to trust God to provide for him. How would your church or small group respond if one of your members were in a situation like Paul’s? Why do you think the Philippians gave so generously to Paul?
Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-7
3. What do we learn about the church in Philippi (a city in the region of Macedonia) based on what Paul wrote to the church in Corinth? What role did God play in the “grace of giving” demonstrated by the Philippians?
4. What did Paul mean when he wrote that the Philippians “gave of themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us” (v. 5)? How can you incorporate this same spirit into your personal giving?
Read Philippians 4:17-20
5. Giving often requires sacrifice. What do you think God is calling you to sacrifice in order to tell others about Jesus?
6. Do you ever worry about God not meeting your needs? Is there a difference between needs and wants? Talk through verse 19 and the implications of trusting the Lord to meet all our needs.
Read 2 Corinthians 8:7-15
7. In what context is Paul writing about needs? Are they physical, emotional, or spiritual? Deliberate and define what “need” is.
8. The Corinthians excelled in everything—in faith, speech, knowledge, complete earnestness, and love—yet they did not yet excel in the grace of giving. They were the first to give, but they had not finished the work. Knowing that our personal tithing and generosity supply those with need, what happens when we fail to be generous and faithful in our giving?
Conclude your group time with prayer, using the following as a guide. Lord, enable us to be more like the Philippian church, generous with our time, resources, and finances so that more people can come to know Christ.