Dear brothers and sisters,
In this series, we have been talking about how we have an ability to respond to God’s goodness and grace, and how this enables us to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. We take personal responsibility for our own souls, and we also take responsibility to support the mission of the Church to make disciples. Jesus speaks of three personal disciplines or habits for growth in discipleship: prayer, fasting, and giving. In the first three weeks of this series we have talked about prayer. Today we begin a discussion about giving. God is a giver; and money and possessions will either draw us closer to God, or corrupt us. God is the source of all things: he gives us good things in life, so that we can use these good things to praise him, to grow closer to him, and to work out our salvation. Proverbs 3:27 says: Do not withhold any goods from the owner when it is in your power to act. In other words, when you have an opportunity to do good, just do it. Proverbs 3:28 clarifies: Say not to your neighbor, “Go, come back tomorrow, and I will give it to you,” when all the while you have it. This “it” is your money and possessions that can benefit our neighbor. Naturally, from childhood we are greedy – we want to hold onto money and possessions in our hands, saying, “It’s mine.” We need to be taught the virtue of giving. If we have ever cheated someone or stolen something, we need to make restitution, like Zacchaeus in today’s Gospel. If we need to pay our expenses, pay them. Last, if there is someone in our lives who is in need and we can help them, we are encouraged to help them. Perhaps this message is hard for some people, but we should encourage one another – because material things will either draw us closer to God, or corrupt us. Questions for Small Groups:
When it comes to money and finances, what are your hopes, dreams and goals?
Did you ever have someone owe you money but not pay you? How did it feel to be owed money but not have the person pay it?
What are your thoughts on this statement? “Money will either draw us closer to God or corrupt us.”
Read aloud Proverbs 3:27-28. When you hear those verses, what comes to your mind? Is there a person or group you feel you owe good to?
Why do we hesitate to give to others or even give what is due, even though we have more than we need, and even when it will so obviously bless them?