This Sunday John Cressman gave us a great practical message about the way that we look at our finances. Do you have financial troubles? Or have you had to dig your way out of a chasm of debt? Whether you have or not, let’s talk about the benefits and advantages to spending less.
I’ve never seen myself as the kind of person whose goals in life surrounded the accumulation of wealth. Look at my career choice! Pastoral ministry isn’t exactly the way to get rich. But I wonder if any of us really believes that we’re living for money. Our lives are filled with images of the Ebenezer Scrooges of the world which give us only one extreme in this issue of loving money. Here are some things to think about or discuss as a group.
- What is your image of an individual who loves money?
- Have you ever felt like you’ve been guilty of the love of money?
- What is the difference between loving money, and relying on money?
- How have you relied on money in the past? What do we rely on money for? What do we believe that we can really gain from wealth?
I think that if you asked most people in Canada, they would say that they were not ‘lovers of wealth and possessions.’ If you asked people what was most important to them, family and friends are always at the top of the list. So if we’re not lovers of money, why do we need to prove to our families and friends that we love them by giving them material possessions? Why do the stores cram full, and people fill the malls doing the shopping and running around that they hate, if time with friends and family are what’s most important to them?
Read Proverbs 23:4
“Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.”
I think that this message applies to all of us. I believe that the ‘wisdom of restraint’ is something which should be shown in all areas of wealth, finances, and gift giving.
- How do you wear yourself out at Christmas time?
- What is the thing you hate doing the most during the Christmas season?
- Why do you do these things?
- Would it really be so bad if you didn’t?
Read Philippians 2:5-8
This really is the greatest example of the humbling act of the Christmas story. Take a few minutes to go through this passage and pick out the different area that describe the humbling nature of Christ.
Do we really do all the gift giving, and running around, and spending money that we can’t afford because we love each other? I have no doubt that a great portion of this is out of love, but how much of it is a result of us being unable to humble ourselves?
- How much of our Christmas craziness can be attributed to our own unwillingness to humble ourselves at Christmas?
- What do you think we could avoid if we didn’t put all these expectations on ourselves?
- How much easier and more meaningful would you find Christmas if you were able to do it without a larger credit card bill?