Kingdom Privileges - Week 2
By Richard Jones
Sermon Date: May 1st 2016
Reading: Mark 12: 41-44
Jesus taught that He is interested in what is in our heart. Our actions must stem from the right motivation. This week we will reflect on the relationship between what we do with our wealth and the effect it has on our inner life - for better or for worse.
You will be familiar with the saying ‘It is better to give than to receive’. What do you think about this? Can you share any experiences you have had relating to this?
Study: (See Helpful Hints)
1. Read Matthew 6:19-22. This teaching from Jesus builds on teaching from God in the centuries before. Read Ecclesiastes 5: 10-15. Share your views on these verses whose message is timeless.
2. Read Luke 12:16-21. In our lives, how and where do people place their hope and security?
3. What is the ‘right’ balance between giving to God and providing for ourselves?
4. Contentment is the opposite of consumerism. How in Christ are Christians content? How ought this contentment influence our giving to God?
5. Read Mark 12: 41-44. This is a familiar story. Why do you think Jesus singled out the woman for praise? How does Jesus’ teaching challenge us in our giving?
Spend time praying for those in our community who are struggling financially at this time and for how many churches, including St John’s, are reaching out to help people who are in debt.
2. This parable challenges us to examine where we place our hope and our security. Transformed Giving Housegroup Notes 4
Saving, like insurance, provides an element of protection against unpredictable events in the future. But sometimes, we can go beyond prudent provision for the future. What’s more, it’s possible that we can base our identity and self-worth on what we spend our money on.
How does our love for Christ reveal itself in our finances?
4. A consumerist society seeks to make our material things obsolete so that we will replace them with new items. This one premise has many consequences.
Christians are content because through faith in Christ, we have received new life in Christ – life today, tomorrow and for eternity. Life in relationship with God and life in which we are progressively transformed into the nature and image of Christ.
Given this, our motivation must be to live for God and not for the world (Matthew 6:19-22). This will influence how we handle money.
You may like to look at Paul’s advice to Timothy (1 Timothy 6:1-10).
6. Witnessing the large donations made by the rich people towards the costs of the temple, Jesus intentionally chose to draw to his disciples attention to the contribution of a poor widow. She gave two mites – the least valuable coins of the day.
Through Jesus’ commendation, we learn several things:
1. We are all to honour our discipleship responsibility of supporting the ministry of God by giving financially.
2. The widow gave a large proportion of her wealth – relative to the rich people. What proportion of our wealth do we give to support the work of God?
3. The inference is that the widow also gave willingly and sacrificially. Do we?
4. Verses 41 & 42 are also very interesting.
The widow gave humbly and without drawing attention to herself. We read that she put her coins in the temple treasury. In contrast, “many rich people threw in large amounts.” The rich drew attention to themselves by how they gave. They “threw their coins”. What’s more, their coins, being larger and more valuable, would have created a noise when they entered the Treasury chest. In contrast, the widow “placed her coins” and so they did not make any noise. Admittedly, the smaller coins were lighter and therefore would have not made a large sound. Nevertheless, she chose to give discreetly compared to the rich people.
Richard Jones, 11/03/2016