Paying It Forward

1. Share a story about a time when you were a child and you bought or made a special gift for a parent or loved one. How did it make them feel?

2. Proverbs 10:16 (NLT): “The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin.” How does this verse recommend we use our money? How do people squander their money? On Sunday, we talked about investing in eternity through investing in personal, spiritual growth. What are some practical ways we can invest in our character?

3. Proverbs 23:23 (CEV): “Invest in truth and wisdom, discipline and good sense, and don’t part with them.” When we are told to buy and hold onto truth, God is reminding us not to forsake His truth for any worldly benefit. What are some ways you have seen people abandon the truth? 2 Peter 3:18 (LB): “But grow in spiritual strength and become better acquainted with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” We are to strive to know Christ more fully to become more like Him. What routines and rhythms would help you become more like Christ?

4. Hebrews 10:24 urges us to think of ways to encourage one another with outbursts of love and good deeds. How can you do that very practically this week? When we use our resources to build relationships with other believers, it reveals we are in God’s family, promotes unity and is a witness to those who don’t yet believe. What can we do to strengthen unity? How could the way we treat fellow believers impact a non-believer?

5. Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 (MSG): “Be generous: Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns. Don’t hoard your goods; spread them around. Be a blessing to others. This could be your last night.” What does this say about serving others? What are some practical reasons to serve today? Why is it important to allow God to use us to help those in need? How can you live this out this week? How do these actions reveal the character of God?

6. Luke 16:9 (NIV): “Use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” What eternal investment can we make with our material resources? What kind of welcome might believers who have invested in others expect to receive later in heaven? How do you think those who have led others to faith in Christ might be greeted in heaven by those they have helped save?

7. The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9:13 (GN), “And because of the proof which this service of yours brings, many will give glory to God for your loyalty to the gospel of Christ, which you profess, and for your generosity in sharing with them and everyone else.” How do you think God views believers’ generosity to missions to spread the Good News of Christ? How have you spread the Good News in your community through generosity and sharing? What is God nudging you to do?

8. Proverbs 3:9 (LB) declares: “Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of your income and he will fill your barns…and overflow your barrels.” How does giving God a tenth of your income increase your dependence on Him? How does this show the importance God has in your life? God specifically says that He wants the first part of your income. Why do you think He asks that you pay Him first? Would a God who accepts a few scraps tossed at the end of the month be worth serving?

Breaking Free Financially

1. Share a story of a time you tried to break a bad habit or develop a good one. How did it go?

2. Deuteronomy 8:18 tells us that only God gives us the ability to produce wealth. We must develop the habit of making resources, not wasting them. If we have security in God, why do you think there is so much tension in our lives concerning money? Christianity believes that what is mine is God’s and I’m willing to share it. How can you develop a greater trust in God that facilitates sharing our resources? Describe what life changes you could make so your life more deeply reflects God as your source.

3. Why is it that some people have a difficult time with making money honestly and instead are drawn to get-rich-quick schemes? Proverbs 16:11 states, “The Lord demands fairness in every business deal; he sets the standard.” Whether you are in business or not, how can you display fairness in your dealings with every individual?

4. If we love God, we give Him honor above everything else. Our first offering to Him should always be the thing we most want God to bless. The Bible describes four actions we can take to put God first.
• What does God promise in Proverbs 3:9 –10?
• What is the purpose of our giving as outlined in Deuteronomy 14:23?
• According to Malachi 3:10, where (place) should you bring your tithe?
• 1 Corinthians 16:2 tells us we should put aside some of what we have earned during the week. When should we give?

5. Read Proverbs 21:20. What does this verse say about the character of the person who chooses not to save for the future? Since the Bible tells us to save money, why do you think some believers have difficulty making a commitment to save on a regular basis? If you are working hard to earn a living, and not saving, you are working for money. How could saving cause money to work for you?

6. Proverbs 27:23-24 suggests that you should keep track of your “flocks and herds.” What would that mean for your family, in today’s economy? What are the consequences of not knowing the full extent of your financial picture?

7. Read Proverbs 21:5. What does this verse say about planning how to spend your money? If you tell your money where you want it to go, rather than wondering where it all went, what affect might it have on your family? How have you used a budget in the past? What have been the obstacles to having a budget “work” for you?

8. What do Proverbs 3:27 and Romans 3:18 say about debt? Discuss some of the common causes of debt. Does it usually happen overnight? Talk about practical steps anyone can take for paying down debt and eventually becoming debt free.

9. What advice does Proverbs 16:3 offer and what does it promise as a result? What is out of control debt likely to indicate about us? Most of us do things out of order when it comes to money: We first spend it; then worry about it; then repay it; then save it; and finally give it. Discuss what you think God’s order might be.

10. Those who seek to model a Christian life must learn discipline in every area—from food to study to finances. How has this lesson impressed you to work toward a debt free financial life?

Sowing & Reaping – Learning Generosity

1. “You reap what you sow!” To what areas of life does this principle apply? Give examples.

2. Where does this principle not apply?

Read 2 Corinthians 9:

3. Paul is encouraging the churches he had planted to collect money for the poor of the church in Jerusalem. How did Paul make sure that that the generous gift of the church in Corinth was ready at the time of collection? (v.1-5)

4. How exactly does the principle of sowing and reaping apply to giving? (v.6) Give examples.

5. What kind of giving is acceptable before God? (v.7)

6. Why can a follower of Christ afford to be a generous giver? (v.8-11)

7. What effect does the gift of the Gentile churches have on the Jewish church in Jerusalem? (v.12-15)

8. What insights have I gained through this text for my own giving?

Choosing Contentment

1. How would you describe people who are not satisfied with what they have and direct their energies to always acquiring more? How have you seen that sort of behaviour affect others?

2. If there were such a thing as a “contentment-o-meter” that measured your level of contentment in life – zero being low, ten being high – what would it be indicating in your life right now? Where in your life are you content? Where are you discontent?

3. What have you learned in your journey are some significant steps you can take to being content in life?

4. In 2 Corinthians 2:12b (LB) we read: “Their trouble is that they are only comparing themselves with each other and measuring themselves against their own little ideas.” What are some problems that arise in our hearts when we compare ourselves to others?

5. Exodus 20:17 reads: “Do not desire another man’s house; do not desire his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys, or anything else that he owns.” Why is coveting included in the 10 Commandments along with prohibitions against murder, adultery and other grievous sins? How would you define covetousness?

6. In Ecclesiastes 5:19 (GN) we read: “If God gives us wealth and property and lets us enjoy them, we should be grateful and enjoy what we have worked for. It is a gift from God.” What is our attitude toward what we own supposed to be? What does it mean that everything we have is a gift from God? How does that perspective change our attitude toward what we don’t have?

7. 1 Timothy 6:17 (NLT) says: “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.” How does our attitude toward our wealth affect how we live and the decisions we make? What does it mean “not to trust in their money”?

8. In Luke 12:15 (NLT), Jesus said: “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Why are we to guard against greed in our lives? What does it do to us? Why is materialism so destructive to our spiritual lives?

9. What two things does the author of the prayer in Proverbs 30:7-9 (NLT) ask for? “O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.” Why does the author not want poverty? Why does he not want riches?

10. What are the readers to fix their attention on as stated in 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)? “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” What unseen things should have a priority in our lives? How does someone make eternal values a priority?

11. Ask yourself, “What do I think about most?” or “What am I living for?” Are you going to live for the Master, or are you going to live for money?

Dollars and Sense

1. Who taught you how to manage money? What were some foundational principles you learned from them? Do you feel you are financially healthy right now? Why or why not? What would you change if you could? How is God being honored in how you are handling your finances?

Read: Matthew 25:14-30
2. Who owned the wealth or property described in v.14? In this parable, who does the man going on a journey represent, and who do the servants represent? Why might it be challenging for some to accept the concept that all our possessions belong to God?

3. According to v.15, what process did the man going on a journey use to decide how to allocate his money? In the story, each servant received a different amount, but each servant received something. In what ways is this an analogy to our lives today if we consider that the servants in this story represent us? What does it mean to be a steward of what God has entrusted to you?

4. In v.19-20, what objective does the master of the servants have? Who does the servant in v.24-25 blame for his behaviour? What are current examples of people blaming other individuals or institutions for their own failures? How are you impacted by the fact that God will hold you accountable for how you stewarded His resources?

5. What does v.27 reveal about the master’s expectation of the servant with regard to stewarding his (the master’s) money? What are we really doing when we “bury” something? When we think of the three servants, which one is more likely to do nothing with what God gave him? Why do you think that is so? Do we have to be a superstar to make a contribution with our talents? What problems do you see with “playing it safe”? Why do so many sit on the sidelines?

6. In v.25, what reason did the third servant give for not investing the master’s money? Why is fear the opposite of faith? What are some manifestations of fear in our lives? What happens when we give in to fear? Talk about the kind of fears that can bury our talents. How can we move against those fears? What was the master’s reaction to the third servant in v.28-29?

7. We’ve all the heard the expression that if we don’t use it, we’ll lose it. It’s a universal law. How is the story of the third servant an example of that truth? Why do you think some people seem to get less and less in life? What does God promise us in Hebrews 13:21?

8. As a reward for their wise management of his resources, the master offered the first two servants affirmation, promotion, and celebration (v.21). Why do you think both these servants earned the same reward? How does this verse encourage you to be a better steward of all that God has given you?