a word to the wise
If you were to ask the average American what brings contentment or happiness, what do you think the most common answer would be?
Money: what a gift, and what a potential temptation. Jesus did say that you can’t serve both God and money at the same time. Paul comes to Timothy, his son in the faith, and gives “a word to the wise” concerning money.
1 Timothy 6
Read 6:17-19. Most people have a tendency to idolize money, and sometimes the church has had a tendency to call money bad. Who primarily taught you about money? What was communicated in word and action? What do you believe about money?
Read 6:6-8. Our modern world teaches that money brings contentment and happiness. Paul challenges that idea and anchors contentment in something else. What does Paul anchor contentment in? Who do you think is right, the narrative of our modern world or Paul? What do you really think? And how do you know what you really think?
Read 6:9-10. Although Paul never calls money bad (in fact he calls it good), he is aware of its trap and warns Timothy of the temptation to love money. Have you seen great grief and harm as a result of the abuse or pursuit of money in you life or in lives around you? What has that looked like?
Read 6:11-12. Money is wonderful if we are pursuing God first and rightly stewarding the money God has called us to manage. Money can be harmful when we are pursuing it first. Practically, what does it look like when you are pursuing God first with your money? And, what does it look like when you get caught up in pursuing money first?
Read 6:17-19 again. Paul is getting really practical. Paul tells Timothy to enjoy the things God has provided and to be lavishly generous. Share what it looks like or could look like for you to enjoy and celebrate what God has blessed you with and what it looks like to be generous toward God and others?
What do you need to confess or give over to God or change in regards to being a manager of the money that God has entrusted you with? Share and ask for prayer concerning that specific thing that the Spirit of God has brought up in your heart.
Throughout the history of the people of God in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, a spiritual discipline of tithing has been practiced. Tithing is the spiritual practice of returning to God the first tenth of all he blesses you with. Everything is his, and he asks that we would return to him the first portion. It has always been a practice of worship, sacrifice, and trust that God will indeed provide. Tithing is not simply about trusting God for provision. It is also about participating in the temple (or the church, as we put it) that puts God’s mission for his world first.