Honoring God With Our Money, Lesson 3

Week 3: Frivolity of Trusting in Wealth

 Opening Discussion:

  • Why are some Christians financially comfortable while others struggle financially?
  • Are wealthy Christians more ‘spiritual’ than poor Christians?
  • Is there a connection between your spiritual condition and your bank balance?

Let’s look at what the Bible says about wealth and poverty.

1 Sam. 2:7  The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.

Point 1:  ___________________________________________________

James 1:9-11 The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.  But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.  For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom fails and its beauty is destroyed.  In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

Point 2:  ___________________________________________________

Psalm 49:16,17 Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him.

Point 3:  ___________________________________________________

Prov. 28:6 Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse.

 

Point 4:  __________________________________________________

 

 Read 1 Tim. 6:17-19

What is the role of the wealth? _____________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________

 

Read  James 2:5-6

What blessings does God promise the poor?  _________________________________________

____________________________________________

Read the Parable of the Rich Fool  Luke 12:13-21

What lessons can we learn from this parable?

  1.  
  2. __________________________________________
  3. __________________________________________
  4. __________________________________________
  5. __________________________________________

 

 

 Additional Verses on the Frivolity of Wealth

 

Prov. 15:16 Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil.

Prov. 13:8 A man’s riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears no threat.

Prov. 11:4  Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Eccl. 5:13-14 I have seen a grievous evil under the sun; wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner, or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when he has a son there is nothing left for him.

Prov. 27:24  Riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.

Life Application:

Prov. 23: 4, 5 Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Honoring God With Our Money: Warnings to the Rich

In the final part of Lesson 2, we will look at God’s warnings to the rich.

The story of the Rich Young Ruler is told in Matthew 19:16-30.  Jesus used this story to demonstrate how difficult it is for those who love money to be saved.  To recap, the young ruler asked Jesus what he had to do to earn eternal life.  Jesus replied that he should keep God’s commandments.  He responded that he had kept that commandments and asked what he lacked.  Jesus then told him to sell all that he had and give the money to the poor.  In verse 22, we read, “When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth”

Jesus then told his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  Matt. 19:23-24 

 

Think About:  Why do you think it is so hard for the rich to be saved?  Their riches make them feel self-sufficient, so they have a harder time realizing their need for God.

 Why was the rich ruler sad?  He wasn’t willing to give up earthly treasure for true riches in Heaven.

 

The Bible provides many additional warnings to the rich.  Read the following verses and allow God to show dangers of seeking riches for riches sake.

 

1 Tim. 6:9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation, and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.

 

Job 36:18-19 Be careful that no one entices you by riches; do not let a large bribe turn you aside.  Would your wealth or even all your mighty efforts sustain you so you would not be in distress?

 

Luke 6:24 Woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.

 

Luke 1:53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

 

James 5:1-5 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you…Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.  Your gold and silver have corroded…You have hoarded wealth in the last days…You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence.

 

 Think About:  After reading these verses, why might you still desire to be rich?  Riches allow us to be debt-free and live in financial freedom.  They also give us the ability to help others.  Being rich is not a sin, but loving money above others is a sin.

 

Life Application:

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Honoring God With Our Money: Fears of the Super-Rich

Despite having an abundance of wealth that most of us cannot imagine, the super wealthy are generally plagued with anxieties about love, work, and family and do not feel financially secure.  These conclusions were drawn by Graeme Wood in an article entitled “Secret Fears of the Super-Rich”.  This article was published in The Atlantic magazine 2011.

 Mr. Wood reviewed the finding s of a survey of 165 households with average net worth of $78 million.  His conclusions show that not only does money not buy happiness, but that at some point an overabundance of money becomes a burden.

Here are some of the conclusions Mr. Wood drew from the survey:

1)      People don’t know how to deal with excess money and will desire more long after wealth has become a burden rather than a comfort

2)      Constant luxury is, in a sense, no luxury at all.

3)      Being extremely wealthy is no more fulfilling than merely being prosperous.

4)      The very wealthy believe they have lost their right to complain for fear of sounding, or being, ungrateful.

5)      The very wealthy worry about their children:  Will the money spoil them?  Will they lead meaningful lives?  Will someone love them for themselves and not their money?

6)      Money interferes with their relationships—do people like them just for their money; always expected to pay

7)      Extreme wealth takes away some of the basic joys of living, such as holidays—the wealthy are always expected to give extravagant gifts; gifts received aren’t so meaningful when you can buy whatever you want.

8)      Those who inherited their wealth question their self-worth.

9)      The wealthy have a difficult time with work.  Those who do work in our present economy may be viewed as having taken a job someone else needs.  Also, it is easy for the wealthy to quit a job as soon as a situation arises that they don’t like.

10)   The happiest wealthy people are usually heavily involved in philanthropy. 

Many of these conclusions mirror truths found in God’s word. For example, the respondents felt they would be secure if they only had 25% more money.   That sounds a lot like what God’s word teaches us in Ecclesiastes 5:10,   “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.”   God’s word also teaches us that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)  Those super wealthy individuals who engage in philanthropy have learned this for themselves.

While we may dream of one day becoming super wealthy, we need to realize that having excess money above what we truly need will not make us happy.  Happiness and true contentment can only be found in Jesus Christ.

Honoring God With Our Money: Does Money Buy Happiness?

This week’s lesson looks at what the Bible says about the love of money.  An apt subtitle would be, “Does money buy happiness?”

 Most of us dream at least occasionally of suddenly acquiring a great deal of wealth.  Perhaps your wealth would come through an inheritance, a law suit, or winnings from a game show or contest.  Pretend for a moment that you been given $1 million.  What would you do with the money?

The most common answers include:  buy a house, pay off debt, save for the kid’s college funds, and help my family.  I hope your list includes giving back to God through tithing and helping others who have been less fortunate. 

Would $1 million put you in a position to never work again?  Would you want to be in such a position?

Think About:  Would you do anything different if your winnings were $10 million?  Would such a large sum of money change your life?  If so, how?  Would you want to have enough money to be able to retire at 40?  50?

Some of the questions you should think about as you go through today’s Scriptures are

  • Does God want Christians to be rich? 
  • Doesn’t it seem that those raised in wealth have a difficult time finding their place in life and wind up frequently bored and in trouble? 
  • Does wealth equate to happiness? 

 
Read 1 Timothy 6:10  For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierce themselves with many griefs.

 Question:  What is the root of all evil?  Not money, but the love of money. Money in and of itself is not a problem.  Problems arise when we ‘love’ money.  Many crimes have been committed over money. 

 Questiono: Why is the love of money a problem for believers? Having an excess amount of money leads to a spirit of self-sufficiency.  The Bible is clear that God wants believers to recognize their need for God and to be dependent on Him.  When we have more than enough money to meet our needs, we may not feel our need for God so deeply.

Read Ecclesiastes 5:10  Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.

The love of money leads to a spirit of discontent.  Wealthy people often hoard money, well above the amount they need for retirement.  Rather than using their money to care for others and share God’s love, they become anxious to have a larger and larger bank account.

This fact was borne out in a survey of 165 super-rich households.  The respondents in this survey had an average net worth of $78 million, yet most expressed that they did not feel financially secure.

Tomorrow’s post will look at the findings of that survey.

Honoring God With Our Money, Lesson 2

In Lesson 2 of our Bible study on Honoring God With Our Money, we look at God’s warnings to the rich.  We will consider the following questions:

  • Does God want Christians to be rich?
  • Doesn’t it seem that those raised in wealth have a difficult time finding their place in life and wind up frequently bored and in trouble?
  • Does wealth equate to happiness?

 

Opening Discussion:

If you won $1 million (ignore taxes), what would you do with the money?

 

  1. __________________________________________

  2. __________________________________________

  3. __________________________________________

  4. __________________________________________

  5. __________________________________________

 

 

Discussion:  What does 1 Timothy 6:10 tell us is the root of all evil?

Why is the love of money a problem for believers?

Read Ecclesiates 5:10:  What love of money leads to what?

Read the story of The Rich Young Ruler:  Matthew 19:16-30

Why was the rich ruler sad?

Why do you think it is so hard for the rich to be saved? 

Additional Warnings to the Rich

Look up the following verses and fill-in the missing words.  These verses are from the New International version (NIV) of the Bible.

1 Tim. 6:9 People who want to get rich fall into _______________ and a trap and into many foolish and ______________desires that plunge men into ruin and __________________.

Job 36:18-19 Be careful that no one entices you by _______________; do not let a large ____________ turn you aside.  Would your ___________ or even all your mighty efforts sustain you so you would not be in ______________?

Luke 6:24 Woe to you who are _____________, for you have already received your ___________________.

Luke 1:53 He has filled the _____________ with good things but has sent the rich away _________________.

James 5:1-5 Now listen, you _______ people, weep and wail because of the ___________ that is coming upon you…Your wealth has _____________, and moths have eaten your ____________.  Your gold and silver have _____________…You have hoarded ________________in the last days..You have lived on earth in _____________ and self-indulgence.

Discussion:  After reading these verses, why might you still desire to be rich?

Proverbs 22:7  provides one reason why we should desire to stay our of debt. It says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”

Life Application:

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

 

Honoring God With Our Money: Lesson 1 Life Application

It is important to have a proper perspective on money.  If money takes on more importance than it should, we begin to desire money above all else.  This desire can lead people to engage in foolish, and often illegal, actions to obtain more money.  Many murderers, thieves, and embezzlers have been motivated by greed and the desire for wealth to commit their crimes.  Failure to place a proper value on money will lead to poor money management and the inability to meet the needs of our family.

Solomon provides us with a proper perspective on how much money we truly need. He wrote in Proverbs 30:8,  “Give me neither poverty or riches, but give me only my daily bread.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say “Who is the Lord?” Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

Money is a necessary and important aspect of modern life.  We should desire to have enough money to meet the needs of our family and assist those less fortunate than us, without feeling pressured to engage in illegal activities.  We should also desire to never have so much money that we feel independent and self-sufficient.  God wants us to recognize that He is our provider.  He gives us talents and the ability to work and earn money.  We need to acknowledge His help and His gracious provisions for us.

How has God provided for your needs this week?   How have you seen His provisions for you in the past?

Honoring God With Our Money: Lessons from the Prodigal Son

Jesus told the parable of the prodigal son in the book of Luke.  This parable often used to illustrate God’s amazing love and grace towards His children.  However, it is a story that can teach us some important financial principles.  A synopsis of the story is below, and you can read the complete story in Luke 15:11 – 32.

The story begins as, “There was a man who had two sons.  The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.”

  prodigal-son-receives-his-inheritance

The son left home and engaged in wild living.  He blew through his inheritance quickly.  About the time he ran out of money, a severe famine struck the country.  The son found himself without friends and in need of a job.  The only job he was able to get was feeding pigs. 

prodigal-son-slops-pigs

Eventually the son became so desperate that he decided to return home and throw himself on his father’s mercy.  The father rejoiced to have his errant son home and threw a feast to celebrate.  The older brother became angry and refused to join in the celebration.  His father explained that he had to celebrate the younger son’s return and that the older son was entitled to anything that belongs to the father, all he had to do was ask.

return-of-prodigal-son-celebrated

From a financial point of view, this story illustrates the following principles:

1) Money was not the answer to the prodigal son’s problems and it is never the solutions to our problems.  We do need money to buy the things we need, but money will not make us a better person or bring lasting happiness.

2) Sometimes the Father gives us what we demand, even when it is not in our best interest.  I do not imagine the conversation between the father and the younger son requesting money to be a calm, cordial dialogue.  Rather, I envision a son pestering his father for weeks or months to give him his share.  Although the father does not think it is in his son’s best interest, eventually he gives in to his son’s demands.  We like to think that God only gives us what is good for us; however, the Bible clearly states that God gave in to Israel’s desire for a king.  God warned the Israelites that a king would oppress and tax them, yet they were undeterred in their demands.  God yielded to their demands and allowed them to learn for themselves that God’s plans are the best plans.

3) Wealth that is not earned is not appreciated.  The younger son did not value the money his father gave him because he didn’t work for it.  It didn’t cost him many hours of labor, so he thought little of wasting it on frivolities.

4) You cannot buy true friends.  Friends that like you for your money will scatter when the money is gone.  Unfortunately, many celebrities have had to learn this lesson the hard way.

5) All that the Father has He shares with His children.  If you are a child of God, all the riches of Heaven are available to you. This doesn’t mean that God is going to give them to you (reread point 2).  It does mean, however, that you should make your needs known to God and ask Him to meet them.  God does take care of His children.

I hope that you will take the lessons of the prodigal son to heart.  God desires His best for you.  Often we want things that are not actually in our best interest.  Trust God and allow Him to give you those things that will help you to grow and mature in Him and to withhold those things that will lead you away from Him.

Have you ever greatly desired something and obtained it, only to find out that it didn’t live up to your expectations?