The BIG IDEA:
Jesus warns that it is foolish to trust in money for security.
Money itself isn’t a problem, but the place and value we give it in our lives can become a problem if it takes the place of God in our lives. Scripture warns us again and again that placing too high a value on money can lead to greed, worry, fear, falling into traps of temptation, and can even derail our faith.
To trust in God who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17) and to seek first his kingdom, knowing he will provide for our needs (Luke 12). Instead of allowing money to be our master, we should use it for doing good and store up treasures for ourselves in heaven. (Luke 12:33-34)
The guy with the credit card seems to be saying, “I’ve got money so I can have anything I want!” That is often how we think about money here on Earth. But God doesn’t give us money to make us happy. He gives us money to help others and invest in the kingdom.
What I want the group to know and understand: Real security doesn’t come from having money, but from the Lord. Also, to know the warnings Scripture gives about placing too high a value on money.
What I want the group to experience: A desire to live counter-culturally when it comes to money. An opportunity to see God’s faithfulness to provide when they trust in Him to meet their needs.
How I want the group to respond: To be free from worry and greed and be freed up to be generous, knowing that we don’t have to depend on money for security. To take our real financial needs before the Lord in prayer, trusting him to provide.
The SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
Our culture is full of messages about money and possessions. Money and the seeking after wealth is one of the biggest competitions for God in our lives. A quote by Richard Halverson says it well: “Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because, when it comes to a man’s real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man’s true character. All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles his money.” Jesus says it even better, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Have you ever dreamed about winning the lottery? How do you think it would change your life? What would you buy if you won a million dollars?
Many people look to the lottery for financial security, but according to multiple studies about 70% of all lottery winners will end up going broke and filing for bankruptcy. 70%!! Are you surprised by this? Why do you think this is?
Money (or a lack of money) is a huge topic in our culture. Let’s look at just a couple of many passages where the Bible talks about money.
Read Luke 12:13-21
1) In verse 13, what is the person in the crowd concerned about?
Fairness, worried he won’t get his share.
2) What is Jesus’ response to him?
He basically asks the man why he is asking him to make a decision about who gets the estate, warns him against greed, and tells him money isn’t the most important thing in life. He then tells a parable to illustrate his point.
3) Summarize Jesus’ parable in your own words. What is the main point of this story? What was the man trusting in? What happens to him?
Allow the students to tell the parable in their own words.
4) How have you seen this same attitude toward money demonstrated in our culture today?
Discuss as a group. It should be pretty easy to come up with examples where people base their security on how much money and possessions they have. You might ask if you have ever heard anyone say, “I’ll get serious about God later, but right now I need to focus on me.”
5) Jesus says, “Life is not measured by how much you own.” (v.15) What do you think he means?
Discuss as a group.
6) Read Luke 12:22-34 What is the attitude we should have towards money and possessions?
There are a lot of different things they could say, but some of the main points might be: you don’t need to worry about having enough; our priority should be seeking first his Kingdom and He will provide for our needs; an attitude and action of generosity towards those in need will store up treasures for us in heaven.
7) What are the thoughts in this passage that you find most encouraging? What thoughts do you find hardest?
Allow the group to discuss.
8) The passage talks about storing up treasures in heaven. How can we use our money and resources here on earth to store up treasures in heaven? 1 Timothy 6:17-19 gives us some additional insight. What are some ways it tells us we can do that?
Allow the group to discuss the first part, then look at the 1 Timothy passage. It says “be rich in good deeds, be generous, be willing to share.”
9) When you think about the money you have (whether it is from an allowance, a job, or given to you), where does most of it go?
Allow the students to share. Is it food, recreation, music, clothes, or something else?
10) What are some specific ways you can store up treasures in heaven while you are in high school? (What are some of the needs you see around you that you think God might want you to invest in? Are there ways you can contribute to his kingdom work?)
Allow the group to discuss. If no one mentions it, suggest giving money to your church, to friends going on missions trips, and to organizations that advance the cause of Christ.
11) Read 2 Corinthians 8:9. When you see Jesus’ generosity to you and consider what we’ve talked about in this study, how do you sense God’s Spirit nudging you to act differently about money?
Allow the group to discuss.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
Sometimes we don’t know where our money goes. It just seems like we don’t have enough. A great way gain understanding of how we use our money is to keep track of our spending. For 3 weeks (using your phone or a small notebook), write down everything you spend – the date, the place and what it was for. Then take a look at what you spent. How much of it was spent on things that were important or lasting? Looking back at it, how much do you feel you wasted? How much do you think was invested in storing up treasures in heaven? Are you surprised by where your money went? Are there any changes you would like to make in your spending habits?
Read the following quotes and respond:
“Money must not call the shots. I may have plenty of money to buy a new car, but that is not the point, for I will not serve money. I serve God, so I will buy the car only if I sense his direction to do so. Likewise, if I feel God’s leading to go to the mission field or help a brother in need, I do not say, “No, there’s no money, so I can’t.” That also would be serving money. God is my master, and money is at his disposal. I must first discern not what money says, but what God says. Money may be a factor, but it is never the factor. God, not money, is sovereign. Money – whether by presence or absence – must never rule my life.” – Randy Alcorn, Money, Possessions, and Eternity
A.W. Tozer questions, “We can discover what our treasure is by answering 4 basic questions: What do we value most? What would we most hate to lose? What do our thoughts turn to most frequently, when we are free to think of what we will? And finally, what affords us the greatest pleasure?” Based on these four questions what is your treasure?