When we gather as a group, these are some ways we ensure the best group discussion:
We make the circle safe by staying honest and transparent - leave the masks at the door.
We keep it inside the circle. Each person’s story is theirs alone to share.
We look to the Bible for wisdom and truth, and work together to let it shape how we see the world.
We don’t try to fix each other in front of each other or give unsolicited advice. We lovingly save hard conversations for private moments.
We respect each others’ time by starting and ending when we say we will.
We believe that in Jesus Christ, there is hope for everyone.
“Would you rather” questions can tell us a lot about ourselves, but some go past that - they tell us what direction we are heading in life. Jesus came not only to rescue us, but also to point us to the best way to live. And he often did that with questions sounded suspiciously like a “would you rather”…
Jesus’ “would you rather” questions are different though, because they’re actually commands - they’re not about what we should “believe” or “know”. They’re all about what we do. As people rescued by and committed to following Jesus, we are called to not just know the best way to live, but to actually live that way. And first up on the list is Jesus’ most common teaching topic: money.
Remember, the questions are not a checklist to be completed, or in the perfect order! They’re simply guardrails to help you have a natural discussion about what we learned on Sunday.
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
Would you rather…
…always be 10 minutes late or always be 20 minutes early?
…have all traffic lights you approach be green or never have to stand in line again?
…be the funniest person in the room or the most intelligent?
…have A 6-Pack (Abs) Or A Free 6-Pack Of Beer Every Night?
Your money history
All of us grew up with a different relationship to money and stuff, and that shapes our relationship to those things as adults.
How did your family talk about, spend, and view money, stuff, and generosity?
How has that shaped the way you handle money and generosity now?
CONNECT WITH THE MESSAGE
In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Jesus says that our heart always follows our money and stuff, and it doesn’t go the other way. Money and stuff aren’t evil, but they are one of the primary direction setters of our hearts. How have you seen this to be true with your own money? How does the use of your money (and your stuff) show what you care about?
What we’re not talking about
When thinking about how my transactions show what I care about most, it’s easy to think only about discretionary income. I think, “well of course I need _____, and obviously I need _____…” House, car, groceries, phone, WiFi, Netflix, date budget, retirement, savings, student loans, dog food…
And then I rattle off the “have to have” things, I’m left with the discretionary income. And it’s probably not much at that point, because I probably have good reasons (or justifications) for the things I spend on.
But this exercise of seeing where my transactions lead my heart isn’t about the money left over. It’s about how I’m using all that God has given me, and what it tells me about what I value most.
God isn’t concerned with a portion of what I have, no matter how big you make that portion.
He’s concerned with all of it.
So ask bigger questions about all the things you spend on, not just what feels like leisure or luxury or extra.
What does my rent say about how much I care about where I live?
Am I willing to share the things I have, or is my stuff just for me?
What am I saying no to because of what I’ve already committed my money to?
There are things that I believe I “need” - where did those ideas come from? The world around me or the wisdom of God?
Storing here = I owe me
Mike said that storing treasure here boils down to the idea that “I owe me”. And that mentality makes me think my identity is about my stuff, overemphasizes money as my security, and leads me to be entitled to everything.
We all have a bit of “I owe me” in us, whether it is obvious or not. It’s human nature, and our money usually reflects that! Why is that mentality so dangerous when left unidentified and unchallenged?
In 1 Timothy 6 Paul writes, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
Do you have your own personal evidence of wealth’s uncertainty? Did that experience change how you view or use your money?
God provides for us for our enjoyment - but when money and stuff have a hold of our hearts… we can’t enjoy it anyway! Have you ever found yourself disappointed with the very thing that you worked hard for and finally got?
In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Mike gave us another way to think about this: we can serve our money and hope God will help us OR serve God and hope God will provide the stuff we need. Why is Jesus so black and white about this? Why are serving God and money so mutually exclusive?
Some quotes to remember
“The primary competition for my heart with God is money.”
“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.” (Richard C. Halverson)
“More money doesn’t get you financial freedom, because financial freedom isn’t possible when I am a slave to my money.”
Treasure in heaven
The most valuable thing in the world is God, and God gave everything to rescue the people he created and loves. So storing treasure in heaven looks a lot like investing in our relationship with God, our relationships with others, and others’ relationships with God.
Using this filter, think as practically as possible - what kind of things “count” as storing treasure in heaven? What are some obvious or creative ways that our money and stuff can be invested in those things?
Moving from here to there
Mike gave us some simple steps to start the process of storing up treasure in heaven instead of on earth. We have to…
Know where our money is going.
Live on less than we make.
Make generosity a top percentage priority.
Invest in stuff that fills heaven up with people (and fills people up with heaven)
Lots of things stand in the way of us actually living in these ways - personality, fear, history, time, energy, conflict… which of these steps are you stuck on? What’s standing in your way?
Which of these steps have you taken and integrated into your life? What kind of impact did it have on your finances, generosity, and heart?
Pick just one - which of these do you need to take a tangible step toward this week?
Slo City Church
Mike spent a few minutes talking to Brent Bramer, Lead Planter of Slo City Church in San Luis Obispo! Slo City launches on September 8!
Do you know anyone in San Luis Obispo that might need to hear about Slo City Church?
*** IDEA ***
Spend a few minutes praying for Slo City Church together at the end of group! Pray that their launch goes well, that volunteers are passionate and engaged, that people without hope find their way in, and that everyone involved has the courage to invite friends!
The whole Bible is full of wisdom that teaches us how to live life the way God designed it, but few books of the Bible are as practical and tangible as Proverbs! In just 3-5 minutes a day, you can read one chapter of Proverbs each day and be done in a month! The wisdom you’ll find is tried and true and has survived for thousands of years - you’ll be shocked at how applicable it is to your everyday life!
Do That proverbs plan… with friends!!!
One of the coolest parts of doing reading plans on the YouVersion Bible app is that you can do it with friends!
When you start the plan, select “with friends” and then invite others via the app or with the link that it gives you.
Not only do you have the mutual accountability to actually stay on track, but there is a “Talk it Over” section each day that gives you a space to share thoughts, ask questions, and encourage each other!
Speaking from personal experience, this is a HUGE asset to our time in the Bible and the actual application of what we learn.
This Proverbs plan is a GREAT way to start, for any type of person. Take the risk, do it yourself, and invite someone to do it with you on the app - you won’t regret it!