Encounter: Read slowly through 1 Timothy 6:6-18 NIV and mark the verse that stands out to you the most today. Then read Proverbs 10:22, 13:22, 14:21, 24 and 10:4, 13:4, 18:9. 30:7-9. Begin to reflect on the benefits of wealth, the right use of money and the warnings from Solomon. Look up the word content or contentment in scripture and record them in your journal.
John Piper in his book, “Don’t Waste Your Life,” tells a story of missionary Ruby Eliason, who in the year 2000 along with her friend Laura Edwards, were killed in Camaroon, West Africa. Ruby was over 80 years old when she was killed but had poured her whole life out for one great thing: to make Jesus Christ known among the un-reached, the poor, and the sick. Laura was a widow and medical doctor who herself was pushing 80 years old and was serving at Ruby’s side when they were killed after their brakes failed and their car went over a cliff.
John Piper to his congregation asked the question, “Was this a tragedy?” Everyone began going on about how horrible it was when Piper interrupted loudly and said, NO! Two lives driven by one great passion, namely to be spent in unheralded service to the perishing poor for the glory of Jesus, even two decades after most of their American peer had retired and thrown away their lives on triviality. Was that a tragedy? No, it was glorious! Their lives were not wasted, their lives were not lost, For Jesus says, “Whoever loses his life for my sake and for that of the gospel will save it.” Piper goes on to write, “I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life.
Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of the Reader’s Digest. The story describes the life of a couple who took early retirement from their jobs in the northeast five years ago; the husband was 59 the wife was 55 and now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida where they cruise on their 30 ft boat and play softball and collect sea shells. Tragically this was the dream; come to the end of your life; the one and only precious life that the Lord has given you and before you have to give an account of your life before the Creator; your account will sound like this,
“Playing softball, collecting seashells.” That is a tragedy. Don’t waste your life. For God tells us, The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25
Moses was 80 when God said don’t waste your life. How old are you? And what does the future look like for you? Triviality, mediocrity the humdrum or sold out for the proclamation of Jesus Christ and His kingdom. It doesn’t matter what our age; He can literally mold us into incredible men and women of God who are ready to do His will.
This Sunday we explore what God’s thoughts are on wealth and how His wisdom can shift us from a temporal perspective to an eternal one. One that focuses on living the Kingdom of God instead of pursuing a way of life that is passing away.
Reflect: Only you and the Lord know how content you are with His provisions in your life. If this is an area of struggle, first be honest with yourself and with the Lord. Ask Him to reveal to you what legitimate needs you may be trying to meet with things of this world instead of things of the kingdom. Confess all that He shows you. Then ask Him to help you begin to have the mind of Christ in these areas.
Encourage: In Matthew 25:14-18, Take some time and think about what God has given you and begin to think about how in these areas of your life, you can be more fruitful for the Kingdom of God. Where can you focus your “wealth” to bring about great gain and honor to God. How will this be an encouragement to someone?
Gather: Discuss in your small group, what it means to live for the eternal perspective instead of the temporal. Read through these scriptures together. Where do we find our true riches? Romans 2:4, Ephesians 1:7,18; 2:4-5,7