This week's Small Group Guide is composed of questions from this week's GPS Guide. The questions relate to the Scripture for that particular day. You can download the full week's GPS as a printable document for the context of each question below (in the printable version, the recommended small group questions are marked with a special bullet point).
One option never seemed to occur to the man in Jesus’ story. The principle in Acts 20:35, the only direct quote from Jesus not in any of the four gospels, seemed to have never crossed his mind. Looking at his huge harvest, he never said, “I’ve got more than enough —I’ll give some to people who need it.” How easy or hard is it for you to be generous with the money, time or “stuff” you have? What wishes or fears get in the way of generosity?
Jesus said that for his “little flock,” there is no need to fear. God delights in giving us the kingdom. In Matthew 6:27, he added the practical observation that worry does little good. Can you recall things you spent a lot of time and energy worrying about that never happened? How does worry differ from wise foresight and precautions? What are some more fruitful, sustainable ways of facing life’s challenges than worry?
Jesus' story used popular ideas about heaven and Hades to teach that God cares more about how generously we do (or do not) treat the poor than about the size of our bank balance. Lazarus, the beggar, received joy and love in the end, while the rich man (like Jacob Marley in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol) faced a dismal afterlife. What influences have helped you choose values (social, financial and spiritual) based on “Moses and the prophets”—and Jesus? In what ways has living in Jesus' kingdom shifted your values?
On a world basis, most of us in the United States are among the wealthiest 1% of the population. (This website, updated in February 2018, says anyone who makes $32,400 a year or more is in the top 1% of incomes in the world.) Whether you make it to that cutoff line or not, how much do you believe God has given you in life? How close are you to doing all the good you can do with what God has given you? What role does fear play as you seek to determine what good you can do with your resources? What practical steps could you take in the next 12 months to increase your generosity? (For helpful practical ideas and deeper reflections, read Pastor Hamilton’s book Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity.)
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