Four week series listening to four of the things Jesus said about money.
With God, It’s Possible
|Monday Memo notes|
Going Deeper This Week
1) Most importantly, dedicate yourself to praying off and on repeatedly, and then reflecting on how God might want you to put into practice the warnings about wealth and stuff in Mark 10, as well as its prioritization of helping those who need with what we have.
2) Explore the spiritual discipline and commitment of living simply: Understanding Simplicity – Richard J. Foster and Spiritual Practice of Simplicity and The Discipline of Simplicity – Discipleship Blog
3) Explore the scripture this week:
– The Old Testament Mosaic has lots to say about God’s desire for elimination of poverty: Deut 15.1-11 NRSVUE
– How God’s people treat the poor is part of its witness as God’s light in the world: Is 58.6-9 NRSVUE
– Warning to the well-off because they have deprived or defrauded the poor: James 5.1-6 NRSVUE
From Yale University, check out an article that summarizes how the first Christians helped the poor and addressed poverty: Early Christians and the Care of the Poor
4) Learn more about poverty in America, and what policies help – and don’t help – the poor:
– The first link is to an interview with sociologist Matthew Desmond, beginning around the 50 min. mark, on his new book on this very subject, and the second link is to the book itself: 588: Pointless Theology Fights & Rethinking American Poverty with Matthew Desmond and Poverty, by America: Desmond, Matthew
– An hour long documentary from CNBC on the squeezed middle class in America, with all the pressures and fears that come along with that: Why Americans Feel So Poor
5) On the history of America as a consumer culture: Birth of Consumer Culture and A Brief History of Consumer Culture
6) For your prayer life this week, and over the next four weeks as we focus on financial stewardship at KirkWood, here are some prayers focused on stewardship, some of which we used after yesterday’s sermon: Prayers for Stewardship – Episcopal Diocese of Washington
Servants, Treasures, Eyes, and Hearts
|Monday Memo notes|
More this Week
1) Scripture reading this week:
– Refamiliarize yourself with the mesmerizing, challenging majesty of Jesus’ “stump speech” that we now call The Sermon on the Mount (in three different translations and paraphrases): Matthew 5-7 NRSVUE;NCV;MSG
– Focus in on the full section on money and possessions in The Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 6.19-34 (we only covered its opening paragraph): Matthew 6.19-34 NRSVUE;NCV;MSG
2) Make some lists this week during your devotional time:
What’s heavenly treasure (Matt. 6.19-20)? What do you think God values most?
What heavenly treasure are you really caring about right now?
What earthly treasure is vying right now for your attention, energy, and focus?
3) Reflect on how you have become what you’ve treasured in your life. How do you see that cause and effect playing out, for better and worse, in your life?
4) Here’s a set of three daily devotionals on the 2nd half of Matthew 6, that 1/6 of The Sermon on the Mount that focuses on money and possessions. Sprinkle them throughout your week: Tesoro and Pecked to Death by Ducks and For the Sake of Appearances
5) Professor Charles Lee, who teaches business at Stanford and who is also an adult convert to Christianity, does a great job from his unique point of view of describing Jesus’ core teachings about money (6 min. video): What does Jesus say about money? | Charles Lee at Brown University
|Week 3: |
Financial Advice from a Criminal
|Monday Memo notes|
Dive Deeper This Week
1) Yesterday’s gospel passage highlighted the need for us to be wise about our money and stuff. There’s no better place in the Bible to tap into such wisdom than the “wisdom literature” of the Old Testament:
– This article lists 50 verses in the book of Proverbs that you can peruse, ponder, and apply: 101 Biblical Proverbs About Money
= You can supplement those passages in Proverbs with this one in a different O.T. Wisdom book, Ecclesiastes: Eccl 5.10-20 NRSVUE
2) If our faithful financial stewardship is one way God knows He can entrust us with even more important things, what’s one area of your personal finances you can manage more wisely and reliably? At the very least, make this a matter of prayer this week, asking God to help you see where you can improve, and then showing you how to do it.
3) Make a plan for how you can use some of your money or possessions purposefully and intentionally to build better friendships. What might that look like for you in the particulars of your present life? And in case you need a little biblical reminder about the superlative value of friendship, try this beautiful little slice from the wisdom literature of the O.T.: Eccl 4.9-12 NRSVUE
4) Sprinkle throughout your week these devotionals that cover a few different passages in the Bible about money…a small way to get a little wiser:
The Burden of Money
Is There a Heart in the Treasury?
Your Money or Your Love
5) If it would help in your quest to be a better financial stewardship. check out this summary of the findings in one of the better books on the basic psychology of money and personal finances: The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel | Sam Thomas Davies
A Widow and Her Two Coins
|Monday Memo notes|
Explore More this Week
1) Probably the most significant thing you can do over the next week or so, especially in light of the forthcoming “spend-a-thon” that is Christmas, is review what we’ve covered in the series as a whole.
Each week, we’ve pulled out 2-4 principles from the stories or Jesus’ teaching. You could even make a master list of all four weeks, if you like.
Then prayerfully consider what one or more concrete steps you want to take in trying to live by and live out some of these principles. If you have a spouse or family, ask them to join you in this.
The learning isn’t complete until we apply, use, and embody it. Let’s just see if the eternal, heavenly wisdom of Jesus can change your approach and emotions about money….
2) Scatter these daily devotionals throughout your week, all drawing from the story we covered yesterday. They’ll help you stay connected to this powerful story all week long:
It’s Bigger than You Thought
This Poor Widow
“Old Woman Jesus”
The Widow’s Might
3) From The Presbyterian Outlook, here’s a full study, complete with discussion questions…very family/kid friendly: Learning from a widow’s faithfulness — Family faith formation for November 7, 2021
4) For the curious, here are two articles from The Lewis Center for Church Leadership on how Christian institutions, like a church, can operate in a way that demonstrates financial integrity to its givers:
6 Touchstones of Financial Integrity for Churches
7 Key Questions for Fundraising with Spiritual Integrity