The Generous Life - June 2, 2019

The Generous Life

Week 5: Matthew 6:19-34

Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Putting this truth into practice in every way - in our relationships, our work, our speech, the management of our finances – this is what we are calling the generous life. It is the best way to live. A generous life reflects a generous heart. And a generous heart is built upon the foundation of a deep confidence in God’s character and in his ability and willingness to provide. Is he really good and faithful? I believe he can meet my spiritual needs but will he really provide for my earthly needs as well? Can I trust him? Our use of money reveals much about our hearts and who/what we ultimately trust to provide for our needs. Jesus said that taking a look at where we store up treasure will show us where our heart is. He said we cannot serve both God and money. And he said that worrying about our life and our financial needs is the opposite of seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness. These are serious claims. They are offered in love from someone who knows our needs before we even ask. Do we believe him enough to live like it?

Discussion Starter:

When you were growing up, was worry or concern over money a big issue in your home? Do you think that those early experiences influenced your views about money today?

Getting into the Text:

1.  (Matt 6:19-21) What is the difference between responsible saving and the storing up Jesus is talking about here? How can our actions on earth lay up treasure in heaven? Can you identify a real example in your life where your treasure is an indicator of what your heart is set on?

2.  (Matt 6:22-23) The context immediately before and after these verses is a teaching on money and wealth. How do verses 21 and 24 communicate similar truths in different words? How does this truth relate to having a healthy eye to be the lamp of your entire body?

3.  (Matt 6:24) Do you ever feel like money is a master in your life? If money is not to be served as a master, what is the right way to think of it?

4.  (Matt 6:25) The word “Therefore” at the start of this passage indicates a connection between the previous verses and the discussion of worry that follows. What is that connection? What types of financial actions or decisions result from worry?

5.  (Matt 6:26-31) Is anything good accomplished by worrying? What does Jesus imply is going on in us spiritually when we worry persistently? Do the visible reminders of birds being fed and flowers being clothed help to reassure you that God can and will care for your needs?

6.  (Matt 6:32-34) What does the text say is the difference between the Gentiles (people who do not know and serve God) and someone who follows Jesus’ teaching? How are these instructions a key to living the generous life?

Application:

1.  What do you think it means for you right now to take Jesus at his word and to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness? What steps will you take to do this in the coming week?

2.  How does it feel to hear Jesus say that your heavenly Father knows your needs? Matthew 6:8 reminds us of this same truth in the context of prayer. Philippians 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:6-7 both recommend prayer as an alternative to worry. As you think about your own financial or other concerns this week, how can you put these truths into action in the way that you pray?