Dollars, Desires, and Drives
Newbreak’s Sermon Study Guide is an in-house resource that serves sermon-based Life Groups and/or individuals who want to reflect further on how the message contributes to their spiritual formation. In this week’s study, we talk about how our desire for “more” comes up dry and leaves us not only constantly disappointed but also missing what kind of life Jesus invites us into.
Icebreakers for Life Groups
- Are you a remorseful buyer? What was the last thing that you purchased and immediately regretted?
- What is the most outlandish thing you’ve purchased on a whim? What made you want to buy it? Did you return it?
Read Ecclesiastes 5:10–11 & Luke 12:13–21
What drives our desire for more?
Point 1 – We believe that “more” will solve every problem and fix every fear.
We all have fallen into the trap at some point in our lives... “If I just had a newer car... a bigger house... more of this... more of that...” We seem to delay our gratification with the elusive goal post of what will actually make us happy in life. “More,” whatever that more is, does not have the power to fix things–at least at the core of what needs to be fixed.
The problem compounds when we try to use dollars for what they were never designed to do. Whether in ancient times or today, there has always been a temptation to think that money will alleviate our problems in life. Surely, we are not ignorant to the fact that money is an object. Rent or mortgages need to be paid. But if you think that winning the lottery will solve your problems, the stats and the real-life experiences behind them say otherwise.
Jim Carrey, the famous actor who has achieved enormous success in his career, once said: “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.” Let that sink in. And he is not some one-off celebrity to think like this. Many others, even the most accomplished football player, Tom Brady, have been on record saying similar things.
Question: What do you think we can learn from them?
Long before them, our Lord Jesus tried to warn us with a similar word of caution. Then he [Jesus] said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” – Luke 12:15 (NLT)
What if we took Christ’s words seriously? What if we truly ditched the lie of life being “measured by how much you own”?
Take a moment to either reflect personally or discuss with your group how this truth might make us free to live a different life?
Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection
- We seem to delay our gratification with the elusive goal post of what will actually make us happy in life. If you are willing to share, when was a time your “goal post” for what would make you happy in life moved?
- Do you have a time when getting the “more” you hoped for left you feeling disappointed, or empty? What lesson is to be learned from this?
- If life is not “measured by how much you own” as Jesus says, then how should life be “measured”? How have you been measuring your life lately? Is this working for you?
Read Luke 12:22–31
How do we make the most with what God has given us?
Point 2 – We must choose to trust God, not the money with His name on it!
Jesus’ last command He gave His disciples before He left this earth was to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV). Jesus gave them this command knowing that they would need supplies, they would need lodging, they would need to be in positions of influence. He knows what His children need to accomplish the work He has given them. And He will always provide what we need in order to do His will.
Jesus wants to free our lives from worrying about how we can provide for ourselves, so we can do those things He has us on earth to do. He wants to take the burden of worry from us so we can provide for the poor, we can care for the orphans and the widows, we can offer hope to the suffering and the lost. He wants us to show His love to those people who don’t yet know Him. That is all hard to do when we are working, working, working to get material wealth just for us to have and hold and keep.
In military terms, He wants us to use our money, an inanimate object, neither good nor bad, as supply lines to help us fight the battle for souls that is being waged all around us. If Jesus is the Commander of the armies of heaven, He gives us money so that we can be well-fed, so we can go out to fight, by caring for others better than any other people, by praying for those around us, by having the free time necessary to disciple others, by having more than we need so we can financially provide to send people where we cannot go. He provides what we need, and above and beyond by giving us what we want so we can call others to enjoy that abundance with us. Using our finances to do God’s work in this world requires complete and total faith in our Commander.
Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection
- How can you show God you trust Him with your finances this week?
- If you could financially help in one ministry, what would it be and why? Do you have enough to start small today?
- What do you want that you feel like God may not provide for you if you completely trust Him in your finances? How can you honestly share this with Him?
Final Challenge Questions
- How are you going to think or live differently in light of what you have read, heard, and discussed this week?
- How does this week’s message shape or nurture your relationship with God?
- BONUS: For those of you with kids or around kids: What is one truth from this message that you can share with your kids in a way that they would relate to or understand?
About Our Current Series
Money is a sensitive subject no matter if you are in a season of want or a season of plenty. It can be a cause of tension in relationships, while also feeling like the answer to some of our most difficult problems. It can easily become the thing we are so focused on that causes anxiety and worry. So, what does God have to say about our relationship with money as we journey through life?