Lesson 2

Two Seas

When giving, you can feel:


The benefits of eager giving include:

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Enter into an abundant mindset
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Experience the Gospel over and over again as you give in response to the Gospel.
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Get better and better at meeting the needs of those God has put in your life.
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Two Seas

dead sea sea of galilee

Dead Sea

  • Jordan River fills it up
  • It’s dead to all life

Sea of Galilee

  • Jordan River fills it up
  • It’s teaming with life

Why the difference?

The Sea of Galilee gives what it receives, whereas, The Dead Sea has no outlet.  It is obsessed with accumulating.

Notice that the Sea of Galilee sustainably gives – it is still a sea (actually a lake), and does not bleed out all of what has been given to it – it manages its resources.

John Stott says, “What dominated Jesus’ mind wasn’t so much the living his life but the giving of it.”

May our money lives obsess about having a generous outlet.

But what if giving seems too scary or irresponsible
given your hard financial situation?

Enjoy Your Riches

Most financial planning, with its focus on saving as our ultimate priority reinforces an impoverished viewpoint:

It’s natural presumption:
You do not have what you need, so you must plan to get what you need.

The Apostle Paul introduces another way to think: We are already RICH!

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though** he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. And in this matter, I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.” 2 Corinthians 8

**John Barclay, a Pauline scholar, suggest that this word should be ‘because’ and not ‘though’, which transforms this passage:  “Because he was rich, he became poor so that you might become rich” means that:

  • Jesus’ riches are his generous nature
  • We are now rich in generosity because of Jesus’ riches
  • We are now meant to enjoy our newly acquired riches for this benefits us!

Beware The 10% Box

We need to communicate our money lives with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Too often we shut down communication by putting Jesus in the “10% tithe box.”
  • 10% of my salary goes to Jesus
  • The other 90% is mine: hands-off Jesus!

Three major problems with this tidy solution:

10% tithe is not Biblical

  • Israel gave more like 20%-33% of their income when all of what was required is added up (Levitical tithe (Lev 27:30-32; Num 18:21,24), annual festival tithe (Dt 14:22-27), and tri-annual poor tithe (Dt 14:28-29).
  • Tithing was taught in order to bring about control.
    • Council of Tours in A.D. 567, and in the Council of Macon in A.D. 585, a penalty of excommunication was prescribed for those who did not adhere to this ecclesiastical law.

10% tithe is not followed

  • Average giving among Christians is 2.5% of income and “tithers” make up only 10-25% of church congregations.


  • When commands to give are provided in the New Testament, the tithe is never mentioned.
  • When nudging the Corinth church to give more, Paul explicitly says that giving is not a commandment, but something that “benefits us.” (2 Corinthians 8-9).


Giving can be hard. This imprinting exercise makes giving much easier and fun.

Look ahead to the next moment where you will receive money. It can be from parents, employer, or even the government (e.g., tax refund).

This money needs to find its home. It will either end up in your own personal vault, for you to do as you please, or at the center of Christ’s living room mantel. If you wait until the money is deposited in your bank account, or in your hands, then it will mostly likely become deposited in your personal vault. However, if you present this money as dead to sin and alive in Christ (Romans 5-6), it will end up on the living room mantel of your Father’s house, fully available for whatever Jesus may want you to do with it – whether to spend, save, or give it, all under a banner of grace.

Go ahead and think of three percentages between 0 and 100 (whatever pops into your mind first). Pray about these three numbers and make sure you are open to giving all three percentages. If you are fully resistant to giving any of the numbers, work through your heart’s thinking with others. Once you are available to give any of the three numbers, then go ahead and pick the number that sounds like the most fun to you. Make sure and only give out of a cheerful heart. Avoid any type of giving that is out fear, shame or guilt.

Two Seas Video

Activity: The Giving Streams and 7 Giving Systems

Complete Activity on PDF Worksheet
  • If we are the Sea of Galilee, with the Jordan river flowing through us, we should strategize (and dream) about our streams helping to bring about God’s Kingdom to parched places.
  • As we give, we should align our giving with our talents and time (i.e., time, talents, treasure). We should never separate ourselves from our giving.
  • You should also give where you have strong empathy. Often God gives us experiences where we were vulnerable and needed help, and then equips us with empathy and a passion to help those people who we can identify with.
  • Because we should all be invested in our local church, it is a good general guideline to make sure our giving to our local church is at least 50% of our total giving and at least 10% of our salary.
    • Please do not make this a rule…just a helpful reference to start the conversation with the Lord and your community.


  • Kids care
  • Elderly care
  • Body care
  • Retreats
  • Other

Local Non-Profit

  • Shelter & Food
  • Environ/Animals
  • Pregnancy Clinic/Unborn
  • Education/school
  • Arts & Culture
  • Other


  • Bible translation
  • World health
  • Water access
  • Education/school
  • Pastoral training
  • Church planting
  • 3D home building
  • Child trafficking
  • Other
There are many ways to enjoy our riches in generosity.

It is a mistake to presume that a 10% tithe is the only way to enjoy our riches in generosity.  Giving is meant to be:

  • Highly personal
  • A response to the grace of Jesus Christ
  1. How you give should seek to match your personality and passions.
  2. Choose the giving system(s) that sound like the most fun to you!
  3. Feel free to choose more than one system. I personally practice 3 of them.

First Fruit %

Give % of income.

Ex: Give 15% of every paycheck

First Fruit $

Give $ amount

Ex: Give $200 every month

Giving Goal

Give certain amt. by a certain time.

Ex: Give $1 mill by age 70

Increase % every year

Increase giving % ever year.

Ex: Increase giving % rate by 1% from previous year, every year.


Give a % of left-over income after core expenses paid to sustain lifestyle.

Ex: Give 50% of anything left over. Save the other 50%.

Lifestyle Cap

Spend only local household income

Ex: Spend and save no more than $65,000 each year, which is LA’s household median income, give the rest away.

Financial Finish Line

Give all income made above a certain finish line amount.

Ex: Give all income made above $110,000 each year.


Unorganized spending habits, debt and bad credit all get in the way of us enjoying our Jesus-given riches in generosity. Next, we will learn about how spending plans help enable sustainable outlets of generosity.

More Resources

Study (i.e., exegesis) of 2 Corinthians 8 by John Barclay:

Incredible stories of people enjoying their Jesus-given riches in generosity.

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