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James 5:1-6; Matt 6:19-24

Jesus and James are both concerned with the discipleship implications of how we think and feel and act around money and possessions.

  • What do you already know about the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament writers around money and wealth? (Don't worry if you can't remember exact quotes or chapter & verse - you can just share concepts or impressions you might have...)

Read Matthew 6:19-24 [1]

  • Why does Jesus warn his listeners about money? What is His problem with money?

  • If we focus on God he fills us with light, but focusing on money keeps us in the dark. Have you seen this principle at work in your own life, or the life of someone you know?

  • Do you think you need to be rich to suffer from this problem? Why/why not?

Read Luke 12:13-21

  • Why do you think Jesus told this parable in response to what the man in the crowd said?

  • How does this parable explain the instruction Jesus gives in verse 15?

  • How could we rewrite this parable for a modern day, non-rural setting?

  • Why do you think people want to store things up for themselves? And what does Jesus have against this?

Read James 5:1-6

  • How does James build on the teaching of Jesus (in Matthew 6 and Luke 12)?

  • Is there anything new or different here?

  • What is the focus of verses 4-6? (See also Deuteronomy 24:14-15 and Malachi 3:5 for the Old Testament background on this teaching)

  • Can you think of situations in our modern world where people gain wealth through injustice?

  • Are we ever guilty of this, "living in luxury and self-indulgence"?

  • What can we do about all of this? What could we change (this week or this year) about how we...

    • earn money?

    • spend money?

    • save money?

    • donate money?

    • think about money?

    • worry about money?

Spend some time praying that God would convict us about changes we need to make regarding our money or our lifestyle - and ask for His Spirit's help to do better in this.

[1] Verses 22-23 are based on a pun which is lost-in-translation - the word for 'healthy' in verse 22 can also mean 'generous'. The Message paraphrase of these verses might help:

“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a musty cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!


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