The Bible offers about 500 verses each on prayer and faith, but nearly 2,000 verses cover money-related topics. Money is a spiritual issue. Unfortunately, money can be the cause of pain.
Peril 1: Lack of contentment
Group: Read 1 Timothy 6:6-8. What do these verses teach us about contentment?
Leader's Background: (1) Contentment is an internal disposition. It has nothing to do with external possessions or circumstances—with what you have and don't have. Most of us believe that. But do we live like we believe it? The typical 5-year-old child has lived for only 260 weeks, but has accumulated 250 toys. Does contentment come from having more toys? From going to more movies? From eating out more often? (2) Contentment is a learned disposition. We don't instinctively gravitate toward it, but it's a disposition anyone can learn. How can we learn it? (a) Realize Jesus has given us eternal life and fills the vacuum of emptiness in our lives. (b) Begin the habit of saying "thank you" for what we have. (c) Stop teasing ourselves with images of what we don't have.
Peril 2: Landslide of sin
Group: Read verses 9-10. In what ways can the love of money open the door to other sins?
Leader's Background: The Bible gives approximately 450 references to evil, but only one specifically states this is where evil can originate. Paul says it's the love of money. Money is neutral. The love of money can be a root, not the root, because evil has other roots.
Think about the sinful behaviors and attitudes that could be related to money:
Peril 3: Wandering from the truth
Group: Read verse 10. How could eagerness for money cause us to wander from faith?
Leader's Background: (1) Money shows where our true loyalty lies. Jesus will not share the number-one priority in our lives with anyone else or anything else. (2) Money distracts from what is really important. Paul uses the word "wander." Wandering isn't something you deliberately do. Wandering suggests that you get lost because you're not paying attention to what you should be paying attention to.
Peril 4: Lance of sadness
Group: How can we prevent money from being a source of pain in our lives?
Leader's Background: Verse 10 tells us that people eager for money pierce themselves with many griefs. Debt, workaholism, gambling: Smart people get themselves into many distresses because money has too high of a priority in their lives.
—Jim Nicodem is founder and pastor of Christ Community Church in St. Charles, Illinois; adapted from his sermon "Perils of Money," available through our sister publication PreachingToday.com, © 2005 Christianity Today.
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