AIM: To consider our attitudes to and use of money and possessions.
OBJECTIVES: By the end of this unit participants will have
reflected on their own use of money and possessions;
discussed the question of Christian giving from a Biblical perspective.
Introduction 5 min
How we spend our money – discussion of analysis (page 6) 15 – 20 min
Christian Giving (page 7) 5 – 10 min
Recap “The Christian Mind” from page 4 5 min
Bible Basis (passages below) 5 min
Our use of Possessions (page 7) 10 – 20 min
Conclusion and intro unit 5 (Hand out page 8 this week!) 5 min
We are responsible to God for the way in which we use money and possessions. Richard Foster in “Money Sex and Power” warns that wealth and money is not neutral, but can be an idol and indeed can be manipulated by the evil powers. Jesus repeatedly warned of the dangers of wealth, the false god Mammon. We can so easily be trapped by the materialism which grips society around us. God’s antidote to greed is joyful and generous giving.
CONTROVERSIAL AREAS AND PITFALLS:
We need to be very sensitive to the differing circumstances of members of the group. One person’s luxury may be another person’s necessity.
POSSIBLE ANSWERS TO SUGGESTED QUESTIONS:
See Key Issues above, and Foster’s book. A few practical ideas worth exploring might be:
* Suggest that Christians with substantial savings may feel able to offer interest free loans or even gifts to other members in need.
* Remember we can give in kind by sharing and lending our goods, or giving or selling items cheaply to other Christians rather than seeking “the best price” (even houses and cars!).
* Showing hospitality is both commanded and neglected.
* It might be hoped that “two-car families” could be especially generous in making one available to “no-car families” for holidays, outings, etc.
EXTRA QUESTIONS: Ask the participants for the advice they would give the minister as to how he should dispense the church Communion fund. (Then ask them to suggest ways THEY could meet those needs themselves).
Deut 14:22-29; 2 Cor 8; 9:6-8; James 2:1-17; Matt 6:19-24; Luke 18:18-27.
READING FOR PARTICIPANTS AND LEADERS:
Money Sex and Power, by Richard Foster
WORK TO DO BETWEEN SESSIONS: Prepare for unit 5 (page 8 – hand out this week!)