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Scripture

1 Timothy 6:17-19; Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.


Spend some time in worship.

 

 

Observation

1 Timothy 6:17-19
Paul has given a variety of instructions to young Timothy whom he had been mentoring in the faith and in his leadership role of the local church he guided. Paul had covered many issues and goes on to cover more, but in this section of his letter he speaks to Timothy in regard to the rich members of the congregation.

He tells Timothy to command them how to behave in regard to their wealth. They are not to be proud or arrogant because they have more possessions that other people, nor are they to put their trust in their materials wealth. Wealth comes and goes – and whilst they may be wealthy at this moment in time, there is no guarantee that their wealth will last through their life time; and it will certainly not continue in the same way into eternity. Their wealth is for ‘this present age’.

So they must trust God, rather than any worldly wealth and use what they have for the benefit of others. God Himself does not need the wealth of His people, but He does require those who follow Him to be generous givers. In this way they are protected from greed and misplaced trust in what they have rather than in God; and they will build a sturdy foundation for themselves for the life to come. It is not possible to hold on to material possessions with a tight grip, and yet also hang on to God and the promise of eternal life.

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11
Solomon had accomplished a great deal when he wrote these words and he was a prominent person in his world, known far and wide. He had asked God for wisdom when he attained the throne and God had been gracious and given Him this gift, which the king still retained (1 Kings 3:9-12). In addition to his wealth, he had worked hard and so could now have whatever he wanted in regard to material possessions. But when he took time to think about what it all meant, he found it was ‘meaningless’ as there was no eternal meaning to his earthly possessions or even to his earthly pleasures. There is no satisfaction to be found in stuff when it is all a person seeks.

Icebreaker:

Were you given pocket money when you were a teenager or did you have a part-time job? Did you spend all the money you earned/were given, did you give any away, or did you save some? What was your priority during those years? What do those priorities mean to you now?

Application

  • John Wesley suggested we save all we can. Three reasons were given in the sermon as to why this is a challenge for us:
    o We compare ourselves up rather than down which leads to discontent.
    o We look for stuff we never knew we needed as a result of constant marketing.
    o We seek self-esteem in the wrong places.
    Which of these do you find to be the greatest challenge? Why is this so for you?
  • Five scenarios were given with the question what action you will take as a result of hearing this
    sermon. How did you respond to these:
    o To reduce your consumption in order to live below your means? How could you do this?
    o Before you buy something ask yourself: Do I really need this and why do I want this? How do you feel about this?
    o Is this how God wants me so spend my money? How do you expect God to answer you in response to this question?
    o Using something up before I buy new. What would this mean to you?
    o By planning low-cost entertainment that enriches. What activities could you do with your family and/or friends that will not cost money?
    o In considering major changes that could simplify your life – what would that mean to you? What one step can you take today to put this into practice?
  • Which of these five will be the greatest challenge for you? Why do you respond in this way?
  • What is God saying to you in regard to the way you spend your money as a result of this discussion?
  • How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?

Prayer
Pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time, and any action that has been decided to be taken. Also pray in regard to other needs of the group.

Service
How will you put the action you have decided to take into practice this week? Where can you make a difference as you do so to bless others? Make a note of how it makes you feel, and how others respond to you. Be prepared to share your response with the group next week.

Bibliography

Ecclesiastes 2

1 Timothy Chapter 6

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