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Last week we laid the foundations, looking at the heart of being Grateful and Generous.

Over the next few weeks we will unpack three aspects of this value: Time, Service & Money.

Read Luke 10:38-42

  • What does Jesus value most highly in this story?

  • How is Jesus breaking down the barrier between the role of women (in the kitchen preparing the meal) and men (listening and learning a the rabbi's feet) in this moment? How does this fit with the bigger picture of Jesus's radical new set of values, what he called 'The Kingdom of God'? [1]

  • How is each sister relating to Jesus here?

    • Which sister do you most identify with, and why?

    • According to Jesus, which is better, and why? How do you feel about this?

Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-7

The key word in this passage, "love" (agape), can also be translated as generosity, charity or devotedness.

  • How does this passage sound if we substitute the word 'generosity' for 'love' here? (try it out!)

  • Is it possible to do all the things in verses 1-3 without generosity or love? What would that look like?

  • What does it look like to be generous with patience, kindness, etc? (look closely at verses 4-7)

Read Romans 12:9-16

This is another agape love passage.

John Stott outlines Paul's 8 components of love here:

  1. Sincerity: "Love must be sincere"

  2. Discernment: "Hate what is evil; cling to what is good."

  3. Affection: "Be devoted to one another in love."

  4. Honour: "Honor one another above yourselves."

  5. Enthusiasm: "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."

  6. Patience: "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."

  7. Generosity: "Share with the Lord's people who are in need."

  8. Hospitality: "Practice hospitality"

  9. Good will: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse."

  10. Sympathy: "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."

  11. Harmony: "Live in harmony with one another.

  12. Humility: "Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited."

  • Which of these are 'acts of service' (things you do for someone) and which are 'attitudes' (ways you should be toward someone)?

    • Which of these are your strengths? And which are your weaknesses?

    • Do you find that you are more of a be-er or a do-er?

  • How much time does it require to be loving and generous toward others in these ways?

    • What would it look like for you to give more time to others?

    • How do we use our time wisely in all this (balancing time for various people, including our selves)?

  • Make a plan for this week (with the help of your diary/calendar!) to pencil in generous time somewhere in your week (whatever time you can afford). If you are more a do-er than a be-er, then push yourself to spend time being with someone and not only doing acts of service.

[1] N. T. Wright explains the cultural context of this moment:

The public room was where the men would meet; the kitchen, and other quarters unseen by outsiders, belonged to the women... For a woman to settle down comfortably among the men was bordering on the scandalous. Who did she think she was? Only a shameless woman would behave in such a way. She should go back into the women’s quarters where she belonged. This wasn’t principally a matter of superiority and inferiority, though no doubt it was often perceived and articulated like that. It was a matter of what was thought of as the appropriate division between the two halves of humanity.

In the same way, to sit at the feet of a teacher was a decidedly male role... To sit at someone’s feet meant, quite simply, to be their student. And to sit at the feet of a rabbi was what you did if you wanted to be a rabbi yourself. There is no thought here of learning for learning’s sake. Mary has quietly taken her place as a would-be teacher and preacher of the kingdom of God.

Jesus affirms her right to do so.

N.T. Wright, Luke For Everyone, p132.


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