Week 4: Greed

Review this week's message.

Key Scripture
15 At that, the Pharisees left. They determined to trap this Jesus with His own words—hang Him by His own rope, you might say. 16 They sent a batch of students to Him, along with a group that was loyal to Herod.
Students: Teacher, we know You are a man of integrity and You tell the truth about the way of God. We know You don’t cotton to public opinion. 17 And that is why we trust You and want You to settle something for us: should we, God’s chosen people, pay taxes to Caesar or not?
18 Jesus knew these men were out to trap Him.
Jesus: You hypocrites! Why do you show up here with such a transparent trick? 19 Bring Me a coin you would use to pay tax.
Someone handed Him a denarius. 20 Jesus fingered the coin.
Jesus: Of whom is this a portrait, and who owns this inscription?
Students: 21 Caesar.
Jesus: Well then, render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.
22 And those who had come hoping to trick Jesus were confounded and amazed. And they left Him and went away.
Matthew 22:15-22 (The Voice)

Start talking.  Find a conversation starter for your group.
  • Have you ever had your words used against you?
  • I love the way this translation phrases the last sentence in verse 16-"We know you don't cotton to public opinion."  When is public opinion important, and when is it not?

Start thinking. Ask a question to get your group thinking.
  • Have you ever bought something for yourself because you "earned it"?  What was it?  How did you earn it?  How did you feel when you got it?
  • What is something you loved that you had to give away or share with someone else? Did the thing you loved feel less valuable after being shared or more valuable because you no longer owned it entirely?

Start sharing. Choose a question to create openness.
  • Greed stems from the notion that the more we have the more we are worth.  How is Jesus calling us to define our worth in this passage and throughout His teachings?
  • In another verse regarding money, Jesus famously says, "Yes, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24)  What do you think He means by that?  How do you think that connects to His actions in the Key Scripture from today? How does this week's scripture relate to last week's?
  • Watch the video to the right.  How does this idea relate to the today's scripture?  What does it look like for us to live as "gift-givers"?  How does our individual salvation contribute to the broader redemption of humanity as a whole?

Start praying.  Be bold and pray with power. 
Gracious God, we honor & praise you for the gifts you give.  The very breath in our lungs is a gift each day.  Help us to live out of the abundance of your gifts & into our nature as "gift-givers" created in your image.  Amen.
Start doing. Commit to a step and live it out this week.
  • Give it away.  Give something away this week....and make it something of value to you.  Spend way too long listening to someone who needs it, without growing impatient; love your spouse unconditionally, even when they leave the milk sitting out on the counter all day; let your kids be loud & obnoxious for longer than you usually do, before making the quiet down & go to bed.  The world that we live in right now asks a lot of us. It can feel like we are giving so much away already. Take a moment this week where you give even more of yourself away, so that someone else doesn't have to.