Lesson 5: Must Be The Money
Lesson Workbook (PDF) Click here
1. To get students thinking about how they view money
2. To allow students to examine honestly how they use money
3. To have students commit to a more Godly use of their money
Contentment, Giving, Greed, Sacrifice
OPENING PRAYER (5 to 10 minutes)
GROUP BUILDING (10 minutes)
If you had one million dollars, how would you spend it? Why?
GETTING STARTED (5 minutes)
Hold up a bill of some amount, the more valuable the better.
Say, "What I have in my hand might look good to you, but it’s something that can be used for good purposes or bad purposes."
• How could it be used for bad? (You could buy drugs or waste it.)
• How could it be used for good? (It could buy a meal for a homeless person, or a Bible.)
Money is in the top 5 topics discussed in Scripture. As you probably know, money in and of itself cannot be bad or good. The badness or goodness of it comes from the people who have it. This morning we’re going to talk about money as it pertains to James 5:1-11, so turn there now.
DIGGING IN (25 minutes)
Let’s read this passage together. Every time we read about money, wealth, or possessions, I want to hear a big “Cha-Ching.” As we read, take note of how often James mentions riches.
Read James 5:1-11
1. In this letter that we’ve been studying for five weeks now, to whom is James talking? (Christians who had been displaced because of persecution.)
2. Who does he single out in this passage? (The rich.)
3. What is his tone toward them? (Harsh.)
It’s easy to read this passage and, along with James, point the finger at the rich. But what if he’s talking to us? What if we are the rich?
4. Do you consider yourself to be included in this group? Why or why not?
Let me share with you some quick facts about teenagers in America:
• In 2006, teenagers spent an estimated $159 billion
• The average teen spent an estimated $104 per week
• The purchasing power of Americans is almost two times that of any other country
You may not think you are rich, but you are. Consider this:
• Half the world, 3 billion people, live on $2 a day or less
• An estimated 30,000 children die everyday because they are poor
• The richest 20% of people in the world (that includes us) consume 86% of the world’s goods
You may not think you are rich, but you are. Let me say this plainly, James is talking to YOU. The good news is, the Bible doesn’t leave us hanging. It tells us what we should do with our riches.
Put Money In Perspective
Read Matthew 6:24
1. What do you think the fascination is with money?
2. Why does it matter so much to us?
3. What does this verse say about our allegiance to wealth?
Don’t Abuse Money
Read Luke 3:11-14
1. What abuse of money is John the Baptist talking about? (Hoarding, greed, extortion)
2. In what ways could someone like you abuse the money the same way?
Don’t Depend on Money
Read Luke 9:1-3
1. Why do you think Jesus sent out his followers with no money?
2. Why is it easy to grow accustomed to depending on money?
Read Acts 4:32-37
1. Do you find it hard to share? How often do you do it?
2. How can sharing possessions and money be a good thing for a group of people?
Read James 5:7-11 (again)
The second half of this Scripture talks directly to poor people. Someone sum it up for us in their own words.
It’s kind of funny to hear it in between a tongue-lashing like he gives the rich and an encouragement to poor people to persevere, but James says in verse 7 that “the Lord is coming.”
1. Why would that have been important for both the rich and the poor to hear?
2. How serious do you take that remark? How often do you think, “Wow, the Lord is coming”?
3. If we really believe Jesus is coming soon, how would we live differently?
I believe the rich would be more likely to share and the poor would become more likely to persevere under trials. I believe we’d have totally different priorities, because money wouldn't matter as much.
MAKING IT REAL (10 minutes)
One more question for all of you:
• If I gave you this money (hold up bill) right now, what would you do with it, honestly?
Here’s what I’m becoming more and more convinced of. Money doesn’t matter. If you have it, the Bible says you should give it away. If you don’t have it, you shouldn’t worry, because God is going to take care of you.
(Tear the bill in a bunch of pieces)
When it comes down to it, money just becomes a false idol, and it’s time we stop bowing our knee to it. Some of you can’t believe I just did that, to tear up perfectly good money. And to be truthful, I wouldn’t do that with all my money. There is a responsible use for it when we have responsibilities and needs, etc. But if you felt a cringe when you heard that first rip, chances are you think a little too highly of money, and need to rethink your priorities.
Remember, you can’t serve God and money. You have to pick one.
CLOSING PRAYER (2 minutes)
Heavenly Father, we pray that we might understand how great the wealth and power are that You have given us, through Jesus Christ. Please give us wisdom to be good stewarts of these gifts and use them according to Your Will. Amen.