On Sunday we looked at the issue of money and wealth from Jesus’ perspective. The big idea was pretty simple, that God isn’t interested in our money, but in our hearts. The point is that our lives organize around our hearts. So if greed holds our hearts, our lives will end organizing themselves around greed, wealth, and more possessions. When this happens our lives shrink, anxiety increases, and fear abounds. Dallas Willard writes: If we value [money or wealth] as normal people seem to think we should, our fate is fixed. Our fate is anxiety. It is worry. It is frustration. The words anxious and worry both have reference to strangling or being choked. Certainly that is how we feel when we are anxious. Things and events have us by the throat and seem to be cutting off our life.” When our life is controlled by greed that is how we feel cut off, and chocked by an insatiable desire that never lets up.
So we talked about how Jesus really isn’t interested in our money. He has lots. What he is really interested in is having our heart so he can give us freedom and life. As long as greed controls us our lives will never be full. If our focus is on money then it’s not on God. So we ended with a simple challenge: Give. Give. Give. Giving breaks greed. Giving ensures that God has our heart. Giving is a way to keep God at the centre. I think one of the reasons that Jesus talks so much about money is because where our money goes, so too does our heart. So if we give our money away, we are also giving our heart to God.
So that’s where we went on Sunday ending with some simple practical ways to give. First, give as a priority. Make it first not just an after-thought. Second, give a percentage. God cares more about giving as a percentage than a dollar amount. So make a practice of giving to protect your heart from greed. And lastly, give progressively. Keep giving more and more, deeper and deeper. The path of discipleship, it’s also the path of generosity.
Big Idea: God doesn’t want our money, he wants our hearts
- God doesn’t want your money
- Jesus point in Matthew 6 isn’t practical living, but the intentions behind your life
- Life organizes itself around your heart
- Greed leads to smaller and less fulfilled life
- Focus on placing your heart in heaven not what you have
- “Jesus is very clear. Wealth is a problem” Stanley Hauerwas
- whatever you value most will direct your life.
- If you heart is focused on wealth, then it isn’t focused on God.
- Giving keeps God at the centre of our hearts and lives
- Giving breaks greed
- “Generous giving is one of the best external indicators for measuring transformation and spiritual growth” Chris Willard, and Jim Sheppard
- Three Keys to Giving: Make it a Priority, Make it a Percentage, Make it Progressive
Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What surprised you? What made you think? What did you take away? What was new? How have you seen it true that life organizes itself around your heart? Would you say that money has a hold on your heart? What can you do to break that hold? How much is generosity a part of your life? How much would you like it to be part of your life? What can you do to make a habit of generosity to give you heart to God?
Discussion Questions for Young Families: Take a moment and talk about your kids about the importance of generosity. Talk with them about how giving changes not only others but also us. Ask them about their favorite gifts they’ve ever gotten, and also given. Ask them if there is someone they know who could use a gift to encourage and make them happy. Follow through on any ideas they have.
Challenge for this Week: Give. Make it priority, a percentage, and progressive