Lesson 8

Lord of Our Resources

(Luke 12, 1 Timothy 5)
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Introduction: When we read a title like "Lord of Our Resources," we think: "Oh no, not another pitch to give more money." Being faithful to God is not simply a matter of money (although that is surely part of it), it involves all of our gifts and talents. Let's dive into our lesson and see what God says about our resources!

  1. Our Words


    1. Read Luke 12:8-9. What do you think it means to "acknowledge" Jesus?


      1. What does Jesus promise He will do if we acknowledge Him before others? (We have this picture in Hebrews 8 of Jesus standing up for us in heaven. He is mediating on our behalf just as the High Priest mediated on behalf of the people of Israel on the Day of Atonement.)


      2. If Jesus is mediating on our behalf in heaven, what does that teach us about what He wants from us when He says we should "acknowledge" Him before others? (Part of our "duty" in life is to identify Jesus as the source of our spiritual power and the source of our salvation. We need to acknowledge what Jesus has done and is doing for us.)


    2. Would acknowledging Jesus involve more than our words?


      1. If you say, "yes, it involves more than words" what else would it involve?


      2. Would it involve not just what we say, but how we say it?


  2. Our Possessions


    1. Read Luke 12:15. To what degree is this statement true in your life?


    2. Read Luke 12:16. What was the source of the good crop? (The Bible points to the ground as the source, instead of the farmer.)


      1. What is the source of your money? To what degree is it "your fault" that you have money? (An interesting book, The Bell Curve, reveals that your job is an indicator of your relative intelligence. The high-income jobs generally are held by high intelligence people.)


        1. What control do we have over our intelligence? (None, when it comes to inherited intelligence. Like this farmer in the parable, much of our relative wealth is not within our control.)


    3. Read Luke 12:17-19. What is wrong with this farmer's plans?


      1. Is it wrong to build larger barns to store the bumper crop?


      2. Is it wrong to think of our future retirement?


      3. Is it wrong to take life easy?


      4. Is it wrong to eat, drink and be merry?


    4. Read Luke 12:20. Was this farmer foolish because he prepared for his future, but ended up dying that night?


      1. What is God upset about here? Or, is God just saying that life is unpredictable?


    5. Read Luke 12:21. What would you suggest this farmer should have done to be rich towards God? (The fault of this farmer was to think only of himself when he considered what to do with his possessions. This farmer's death shows how useless possessions can be.)


    6. In Luke 12:22-28, Jesus teaches that God cares for us and so we should not worry about our future. God will take care of us. Read Luke 12:29-30. What does it mean to "set our heart" on what we will eat or drink?


    7. Read Luke 12:30-31. Are we promised to have material possessions?


      1. If so, is this just in heaven? (It seems that having enough on earth is also promised.)


    8. Read Luke 12:32-34. Is Jesus telling us, today, (this means you) that we should sell our possessions and give them to the poor?


      1. Would we then be poor?


      2. Read Acts 2:44-45. Is the early church following Jesus' advice?


        1. Are the early Christians selling all of their possessions?


    9. Read Acts 2:46. What does this tell us about the extent to which they sold all of their possessions? (Their major possession, their home, they did not sell. It does not seem to me that Jesus is telling us to sell everything we own. He is telling us to be willing to sell our possessions to advance the kingdom.)


      1. The book, Word Pictures in the New Testament, points our attention to the future of these Christians in Jerusalem who lived in this communal state. Read Romans 15:25-26. The suggestion is that the saints in Jerusalem made themselves paupers for whom Paul was constantly asking for support from the Gentile Christians.


    10. It would be helpful to read the entire chapter of 2 Corinthians 9. The background for this is another request to help the poor saints in Jerusalem. Let's focus on 2 Corinthians 9:6-9. What is our obligation to sell our possessions according to Paul? (God is not compelling us to sell our stuff. Paul seems to say that when our hearts are in tune with God's will, we will want to give to advance the kingdom. The result of this attitude of giving will be increased blessings to us.)


    11. Paul's letter to Timothy gives him practical advice for supervising the church in Ephesus. Let's read Paul's advice for the Christian's obligations towards poor widows. Read 1 Timothy 5:3-4 and 1 Timothy 5:7-8. What is the first line of support for the elderly poor? (The immediate family.)


    12. Read 1 Timothy 5:9-11. What principle do we find here for giving our money to the poor? (Paul seems to teach that giving non-emergency money to the poor, simply because they are poor, is wrong. Instead of just handing out money, we need to consider the life of the person. In 1 Timothy 5:11-15 Paul counsels us to consider the impact of our support on the spiritual life of the person we are helping.)


    13. Read Leviticus 19:9-10. What does this teach the owners of the field? (The owner of the crop is entitled to the best of what he has grown. However, he is not entitled to every last bit of it. Out of his abundance, he is to leave some for the poor and the alien.)


      1. Those who know something about farming, what kind of crop grows in the edges of the field? (In my berry-picking days as a boy, I observed that the edge of the field was less productive.)


        1. Is there a Biblical principle to be drawn from that fact?


      2. What principle does Leviticus 19:9-10 teach us about helping the poor? (The poor and the alien have some work to do. They did not work to grow or care for the crop, but they have to work to collect the left-overs. The owner was not told to harvest the remaining crop, put it in baskets, and deliver the baskets to the homes of the poor.)


    14. Read Leviticus 27:30. What other claim does God have on our possessions? (God requires a tenth of our earnings.)


      1. Read Numbers 18:21. What is the purpose of the tithe? (To support those who are in the ministry.)


    15. Read Deuteronomy 26:12. The tithing system in Numbers and Deuteronomy has some complexities which I do not presently understand. Several commentators suggest this is the "second" tithe, and not the annual tithe referred to above. My reason for examining this text is to determine what it teaches us about our relationship to the poor. What additional lesson do we learn here? (Recall the earlier point about the poor having an obligation to work when gleaning the farmers' fields? Here we have an instruction for giving to the poor so that they have enough to eat.)


  3. Our Time


    1. Read Luke 12:35-37. What resource is Jesus discussing here? (Our time.)


    2. Read Luke 12:42-46. How does Jesus suggest we should be spending our time? (Productively.)


    3. Read 1 Peter 4:10-11. What resources, other than words, money and time do we possess? What is our obligation with regard to these other resources?


    4. Friend, have you made God the Lord of all of your resources? Will you decide to make Him Lord today?


  4. Next week: Lord of Our Body Temples.

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