Small Group Questions

Decade of destiny: The test 

Introduction:

The Bible has much to say about money and its uses. God’s intention is for us to use our money for a high purpose: to make wise investments that survive our earthly journey. Jesus leads us to view money as a test. We cannot serve both God and money.

Bottom Line: Money is a test. 

Something To Talk About:  

You’re tested every single day. The little things you do define your character. There isn’t a minute that goes by when God isn’t watching your reaction to pressure, pleasure, opportunity and challenges. God will test us to see if we are actually learning, growing, and advancing.  

Money is a test. God uses money to test your faith. God uses money to test your priorities.  God uses money to test your values.  God uses money to test your character.  He doesn’t just automatically give his blessings to anybody. He tests you first to see if you’re responsible. If He can trust you with material possessions. But if you’re not even managing your money well, why would He give you the stuff that really matters?  

It is a test of whether I can be trusted with little: Are you using your money in such a way that God says, “I want to give that person more”? Are you using your time that way? How about your influence? This principle applies to every area of your life. Here’s what Jesus tells us: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” (Luke 16:10 ESV) If God has given you just a little bit of talent, you can still faithfully use it for God’s purposes. If you’ve just got a little bit of money but you use it wisely—the way God wants you to use it—then God will increase your material possessions. If you want God’s blessing on your life, do it God’s way. Start managing well what God has given you, and then God can trust you with more.

It is a test of whether I can be trusted with worldly wealth. Luke 16:11 (NIV) says, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?  If we are trustworthy with something that has a little value, we can also be trusted with something that has greater value. Jesus indicates that we can also be trusted with more than worldly wealth. Life for us as followers of Jesus is really about handling true riches, and those would include faith and salvation and all the blessings they involve. God is trusting me with the finances needed to raise my children, run my home, tithe, and give to those in need. And if my Lord cannot trust me with worldly wealth, how can He trust me with the true wealth that I really desire?   

It is a test of can I be trusted with somebody else’s property: Luke 16:12 says, “And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”If we aren’t faithful in the little things, we will not be entrusted with the greater things and that includes how we handle or manage other people’s property.  We should care enough to respect other people’s property and treat it with the same care we treat our own. Be faithful in all things, including how you treat other people’s property.  

It is a test of who is master in my life: “No one can serve two masters . . . You cannot serve both God and money.” (Luke 16:13 NIV). God will test what’s really first in your life by asking you to give away the very thing you’re holding most tightly. You’ve got to decide whom or what you’re going to serve. If God is Lord of your life, then He should be Lord of your wallet, too. If someone asked you what’s in the center of your life, what would you say? You can say something holds first place in your life, but the way you spend your time and money is a barometer of what is truly important in your life. There are two key choices in your life when it comes to your finances: who will be your master and where you will put your money—eternity or here and now. God doesn’t need your money. He wants what it represents: your heart. You can show God that He has your whole heart by surrendering control of your money to Him.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. As you reflect on Sunday’s message, what one principle or insight stands out as being particularly helpful, insightful, or difficult to grasp? 
  2. What’s your biggest temptation when it comes to managing your finances responsibly?
  3. Do we ask this question: In spending this money, am I acting as if I own it, or am I acting as the Lord’s trustee? 
  4. Read Luke 16:10-12. Why should God trust you with more? How does our faithfulness in small things affect our faithfulness in all things?  
  5. How can we know where to draw the line on spending on ourselves versus investing in God’s kingdom purposes?
  6. What are some implications of the fact that money management is the “little thing” that God uses to test us for our trustworthiness in handling true riches?
  7. What is the relationship between money and what we value or treasure? Is there an option where you serve neither?
  8. What’s the next step God wants you to take? When will you take it? Who will hold you to it? Write down your next step to becoming the person God wants you to be.    

Take one thing home with you:

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:19-21. 

Jesus is drawing attention to what people prize or value above all else. He does this by using the word treasure. Everyone has some “treasure”, the main object in life. This is the thing that your life centers on. The thing that drives you and the thing you pursue. What your main object in life reveals what you treasure. And where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  

And Jesus is asking the question, do you want that treasure to be transient or eternal? To lay up treasures on earth is to give your life over to a love of hoarding and storing up material things.  Jesus bluntly reminds us that everything we store up on earth will eventually end up with rust on it, or fading, or breaking down, or slowing down, or getting eaten by a wild animal, or stolen. Jesus says don’t live for those things. Rather, “store your treasures in heaven.” Those are riches that cannot be lost.