The Point: Possessions don’t last. Your relationship with God does.
- Get Into the Study
- Live It Out
- Additional Questions
- Member Extra
- Tips for Leading Bible Study Groups
Get Into the Study
Each year, a website called valuepenguin.com releases an analysis of the current state of credit card debt in the United States. As a country, we have $3.4 trillion dollars in outstanding debt, and $929 billion dollars in revolving debt. The average credit card debt per household is $5,700, ranging from $10K (for families with little to no income) to $6-7K for families with an average income, to $8K for the top percent of earners in the United States. This doesn’t take into account student debt or mortgage.
While this information is interesting and informative, it also tells us something important about the human condition—we are hardwired to want more than we can afford. We are, as a matter of fact, so willing to acquire the things or activities we cannot buy on our own that we are willing to go into debt, mass amounts of it, in order to get those things.
Looking at the numbers above, it’s more than likely that a large portion of Christians have acquired their share of debt. Interestingly, money is the one area in life in which God asks us to test Him (see Malachi 3). When we do, we’ll find that He is more than faithful—He’s in complete control.
- If you didn’t have to worry about the expense, what is the one huge purchase you would make?
- Why do you think God asks us to test him with our finances?
- How has God been challenging you in this area of your life?
- Do you tend towards being too loose with cash, or too tight with it?
— Ashley Emmert wrote this Leader Extra. She is a freelance writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her sweet Southern husband and their small scrappy dogs. Find her at ashleygraceemmert.com or on Twitter @ashgemmert.
Live It Out
To supplement the third LIVE IT OUT suggestion – “Invest” – share this news item:
Seventeen billionaires recently signed a pledge, promising to give away the bulk of their money to charity. The Giving Pledge was established in 2010 by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, designed to encourage the world’s billionaires to give away a substantial amount of their money to charitable causes. With these 17 new members signing the Giving Pledge, the group now consists of 154 members in 16 countries. The members range in age from 30 to 100.
Nathan Blecharczyk (co-founder of Airbnb) is one of the people who recently signed the pledge. “We are humbled to find ourselves at a young age in an extremely privileged place,” Blecharczyk said. “We recognize that the world has many real challenges and that we are in a unique position to have significant positive impact. We feel a responsibility to share our good fortune, and we pledge to dedicate the majority of our wealth over time to philanthropy.”
Say: These people with staggering wealth are using their money to make a positive impact around the globe. While it’s likely that none of us are billionaires, all of us are able to invest in the work of God’s kingdom, whether in big or small ways.
Call attention to the third LIVE IT OUT suggestion and encourage the group to start giving (if they are not already giving) or to take their giving to the next level (if they already are giving).
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
When have you encountered something priceless?
What possession of yours would upset you most if you lost it?
If you could buy anything in the world, what would you buy?
What did Jesus say was the downside of owning treasures?
How can our treasures own us?
How does knowing that God owns everything relieve some of the financial pressures we face?
What are some resources God has given you that could be used as tools for His kingdom?
What steps can you take this week to keep your focus on Christ?
What are the pitfalls of choosing to focus on material possessions?
In what ways do believers today try to serve both God and money?
When have you obeyed God with your money even thought it didn’t make sense?
How can regular tithing increase our trust in God?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: