Grow Deep - Faith Works Edition Vol 2 wee3

Week 3: October 21-27

Faith Works: If I Were Rich …

Memory Verse: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10

Early in the musical Fiddler on the Roof, poor milkman Tevye, pulling his wagon in absence of a horse, asks God a question that many might understand: “What would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?”

Launching into song, Tevye imagines life as a “rich man.” Beyond an easier life, his home would have a staircase “leading nowhere, just for show.” His wife would be “putting on airs” and “screaming at the servants.” Although Tevye eventually acknowledges he’d have time for prayer and religious study, the life he envisions exudes “luxury and self-indulgence” (James 5:5).

In our society, wealth has often been equated with good sense, self-discipline, or (in some circles) even God’s stamp of approval. If you’re well off, you’ve done something right. However, the image James paints of some people’s affluence is less flattering. These rich people revel in excess, hoarding and cheating and trampling the innocent to make a buck. Rather than being godly and selfless, they are godless and selfish.

It’s easy to write off these Biblical warnings for “the rich” as personally irrelevant. Most Americans might not consider themselves rich, but compared with someone like Tevye, reduced to pulling his own milk cart, the same people become noticeably wealthy. We are not immune to the temptation of money, even if we don’t adopt the oppressive behaviors James describes. At issue is our own human, sinful nature. We see our wants and call them needs. We fail at generosity towards others. We mistake net worth for individual worth.

Instead, we need to seek opportunities to be a blessing towards others and to place our hope and contentment in God rather than in our wallets. Led by the Spirit, we can be good stewards of all God has entrusted to us.

Taking Jesus to the Streets:
By the world’s standards, most Americans would be considered wealthy. Step out for God. Use your “wealth” to serve another. Have a family meeting with your immediate family and/or your extended family. Talk about ways you can use your wealth for the benefit of another. Develop a plan, set a date, go out and serve someone!

Sunday, October 21

Read: James 5:1-6
For these six verses, it seems James is no longer speaking to his brothers and sisters in Christ but to wealthy unbelievers instead. He wants to impress upon those reading and listening the dangers and trappings of wealth. Wealth can lead to eternal destruction if it is used in the wrong ways. Is there a point at which saving for the future as a habit of godly stewardship becomes the sinful accumulation of wealth? How can we know when we have crossed that threshold? How can we be sure that we do not fall into the temptation of “hoarding” wealth?

For the Family: What does it mean to be “self-indulgent?” How does God want us to use our money?

Monday, October 22

Read: 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19
The Bible itself does not say that money is evil. However, it does say that the love of money is the root of all evil. In these verses. Paul instructs Timothy to teach others to set their hopes in Jesus, not in wealth. What sorts of “foolish and harmful desires” might result from the pursuit to “get rich?” What would God have us do with whatever measure of wealth we have been given?

For the Family: When you see something advertised on TV that you want, do your parents always get it for you? Why or why not? Paul (the writer of these verses) tells his friend Timothy that a love for “things” can sometimes get in the way of our love for Jesus. How?

Tuesday, October 23

Read: Luke 12:13-21
As the rich fool found out in this parable of Jesus, his earthly wealth meant very little at the time of death. This parable teaches the folly of storing up wealth in this life when we are not rich for God. Money does not matter in eternity! In what way is the rich man in this parable foolish? How does this parable apply to our society today?

For the Family: What happened to the rich man in this parable? Does it make a difference how much money we have when we die? What does Jesus want us to do with our money while we are living?

Wednesday, October 24

Read: Deuteronomy 24:6-15
In these verses, Moses lays out guidelines for the exchange of money in daily life. His greatest concern is that we give to others what is due them; that we do not gather wealth by defrauding others; that we treat those who are less fortunate than we with respect and dignity, even in matters of money. Of all the commands in these verses given to those who have an advantage over others, which do you find most striking or significant? Why did you choose as you did? Where do you see yourself in these verses?

For the Family: Have your parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles ever “hired” you to do a job for them (like raking leaves, picking up sweet gum balls from their yard)? What did you do? Did you get paid what you were promised? How can you relate your experience to what Moses says in these verses about paying workers?

Thursday, October 25

Read: Malachi 3:6-12
Malachi wrote to remind his people of their covenant relationship with God and to highlight their responsibilities in that relationship. He counsels that they should not gather wealth by withholding generous tithes and offerings from God but that they should put God to the test by becoming generous givers. Why might people neglect to give tithes and offerings today? If this is a personal area of struggle, what baby step might you take to honor God in this way?
For the Family: Is there a difference between a tithe and an offering? If so, what is it? Talk with your family about ways you can be generous to God with your money?

Friday, October 26

Read: Philippians 3:17-21
Paul instructs the Corinthian Christians to follow his example; to refrain from setting their minds on earthly things and indulging themselves with wealth and temporal pleasure. With a heart for the lost, they are to set their minds on Christ instead. How might you “set your mind on earthly things?” How can you avoid this temptation?

For the Family: Paul tells his friends in Corinth to follow his example? Why? Who is someone whose example you can follow? Why is it important to have friends who follow Jesus and who try to live the way that He instructs us to live?

Saturday, October 27

Read: Proverbs 11:28; 13:11; 14:31; 22:1,9; 28:22,25
In these words of wisdom, Solomon counsels his readers concerning the snares of wealth. He encourages that those who are righteous and godly will thrive, while those who trust in their wealth will fall. Which verse resonates the most with your experience, observations, or aspirations? How can you incorporate these words of Solomon into your daily living?

For the Family: What is a snare? How can being rich become a snare for you in your relationship with Jesus? Pray together as a family that God will show you how to honor Him in everything that you do and think.