Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily Devotional. This week, as we continue in our Luke series, we will be using Luke 8:1-3 as inspiration. If you find these devotionals helpful, do pass them on to others.
‘After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.’ (Luke 8:1-3)
Lesson: True fellowship and partnership in Jesus’ mission involves faithful giving in response to Jesus’ generosity toward us.
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I wonder how you feel about giving your money away? Many are not prepared to countenance the idea of giving money away and get annoyed or even angry if a church teach on this subject. However, I hope we are all aware that Jesus talked a lot about money and the Bible teaches on the importance of stewarding this resource in a prayerful fashion. In fact, Richard Halverson writes something that I’ve not actually tested the truth of but I take his word for it:
‘Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because, when it comes to a man’s real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man’s true character. All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles his money.’
Money has the power to do great good and to do great evil. It gives us access to selfishness and sin whilst also enabling us to do great good in the world. Randy Alcorn wrote:
We come to the Bible for comfort, not financial instruction. If we want to know about money, we’re more apt to pick up The Wall Street Journal or Fortune, Forbes, or Money. Scripture should concern itself with what’s spiritual and heavenly. Money is physical and earthly. The Bible is religious; money is secular. Let God talk about love and grace and brotherhood, thank you. Let the rest of us talk about money and possessions—and do whatever we want with them. How could the Bible’s Author and Editor justify devoting twice as many verses to money (about 2,350 of them) than to faith and prayer combined? How could Jesus say more about money than about both heaven and hell? Didn’t he know what was really important?’ (Randy Alcorn; Money, Possessions and Eternity; Loc. 256)
In our text today, we read, ‘These women were helping to support them out of their own means.’ Jesus’ ministry of sharing the good news of the Kingdom of God was financially supported, in great part, by these women who were with Him. This is a very interesting truth don’t you think! Jesus, The Son of God, who could heal the sick, raise the dead and get money from the mouth of a fish… chose to be supported by people. Of course there are times when Jesus miraculously supplies resources to His church, but, most of the time, the ministry of Jesus is continued through the church by the generous, sacrificial giving of normal people. As the ‘sinful woman’ who was ‘forgiven much’ overflowed with lavish worship to Jesus as she poured perfume on His feet, so these women, overflowed with financial generosity in response to Jesus’ healing and grace toward them. Like them, our giving will be directly linked to how generous we believe God has been to us!
True fellowship and partnership in Jesus’ mission involves faithful giving in response to Jesus’ generosity toward us. In an earlier devotional this week, we looked at the need for ‘fellowship’ (Koinonia) between all sorts of people, and men and women specifically if we are to be effective in continuing Jesus’ mission. Today, I want us to see that fellowship requires that each of us, according to our means, give financially to Jesus’ work through our local church. Our generosity is to reflect how generous Jesus has been to us and, like these women, may Jesus’ love and grace open the doors of our heart to be generous in our giving to His work.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals.
How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. Worship together
Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.
4. Study and pray together
This week, as we continue in our Luke series, we will be using Luke 8:1-3 as inspiration.
Please read Luke :8:1-3
What were you particularly struck by from Sunday’s message from Luke 8:1-3?
What would you say is the central teaching of this narrative?
We are told that ‘Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.’ How would you describe the Kingdom of God and what is the good news about it? (If you need help, you can find a in this devotional here: https://www.communitychurchputney.com/post/983-the-good-news-of-the-kingdom-of-god-5-2-24 )
Why do you think that Luke specifically mentions that women were included among in His disciples?
What does this teach about giving to the ongoing work of Jesus through His church? (Please ensure that you’ve shared the notice, from church news, about our aim to increase our giving.)
SIV - What does this text teach about our mission in life? (See also Luke 4:43-44, 5:10-11).
SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?
Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that’s come out of our time in God’s Word.