How We Live Love: Be Open-Handed

TO START

November is, of course, Thanksgiving month. Consider starting all your small group gatherings this month with a time to share things you’re thankful for and praise God for His love and provision. You might create some sort of Thanksgiving list to post (either online or on a refrigerator).

TO DISCUSS

Living an “open-handed” life isn’t a new idea to this church. We’ve talked about it a number of times before. What does it mean to you? How have you been personally challenged by the calling to be open-handed? Are you growing in open-handedness? Or are you resisting it?

Share a story or two about times you’ve had an opportunity to be open-handed OR share a story about a time you saw someone being open-handed.

Are you struggling to understand what it means to be open-handed? Ask your group members for help getting your head around it.

On Sunday we said there’s one big reason God blesses you (beyond His desire to show you love). What was it? Why does God give you resources, joys, time, and strengths?

Look back at 2 Corinthians 9:6-9. Read it together as a group. If God gives us gifts so that we’re equipped to do good works, consider your own life. Are you using your gifts to do good works? Or are you tempted to think of your gifts as yours?

Consider the following three categories of open-handed living. Which one do you struggle with the most? Why is that? What could you do to grow in that category?

  1. Financial generosity--sharing the money you’ve been given with others who need it (including the local church)

  2. Generosity with time--sharing your time, welcoming interruptions to your schedule, freeing giving away vacation time or time off to help another

  3. Emotional generosity--sharing your emotional energy with others, welcoming their pain into your life, listening to the hard things they’re going through, offering your own strength and stability when they’re weak

We said on Sunday that being open-handed isn’t just about giving away what we’re given, it’s also about appreciating it while we have it and understanding that we don’t deserve it.

Is there anything you’re taking for granted right now? What have you never considered losing but know you’d seriously miss if you ever did?

In the end, whether or not we have open hands reveals a lot about our relationship to God. What does it take to stand before God with open hands? What kind of a relationship is that?

TO READ

Tonight in group, read the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30.

Why did the master give his servants gold?

In the end, who got more gold?

According to this parable, what’s the relationship between what we’re given and what we do with it?

How does this parable make you feel?

Is it confusing at all? Talk through it until you think you understand it as a group and until you can see what it’s saying to you personally.


TO PRAY

This week as you pray, encourage group members to pray with open hands, palms up, expectant and resolved to accept and share whatever God gives (or takes away).