This Sunday wrapped up the final week in our series Open Handed by talking about being open handed with our money – our tithe. This is just another area where God is encouraging us, His children, to open up our hands and allow Him to bring an even greater reward to our lives as we surrender our finances to His kingdom purposes.
As you reflect on Sunday’s message, What impacted you the most? What challenged you?
Read Colossians 3:1-2, Matthew 25:14-29, Romans 11:33-36
1. We need to start off with the right focus. It’s not about what we’ve earned or what we have been given. We need to remember that without God, we wouldn’t have anything. When we get our focus right and remember that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords owns everything, then we can open our hands to let go of what He’s gifted to us so that we can have empty hands to receive from Him more than before.
- What does it mean to “set your minds on things above”?
- What are some examples of things that are from God and fit the concept of talents in the parable Jesus told?
Read Matthew 25:14-29, Romans 14:7-12, Revelation 22:12
2. As we recognize and acknowledge that God already owns everything, we should also understand that as a good Owner, He will require that we account for how we have used the gifts and talents He has given us.
- In the parable of the talents that Jesus told, what was wrong with what the servant did who was given only one talent? Do you think this servant was open handed? Why/not?
- What reasons might Paul have for cautioning us in Romans not to judge a brother or sister in Christ? How might judging another believer cause us to lose focus?
Read Matthew 6:19-21, Matthew 25:21
3. When we invest our time, talents, finances, and resources back into the kingdom of God, He gives right back to us again. When our focus is on Him and His kingdom and we open our hands to trust Him with whatever we have regardless of the size or quantity of those things, we will always have what we need and then some.
- What are treasures that can be stored up in heaven? How do they differ from “earthly” treasures? (give an example of each)
- In the parable Jesus told the servant with only one talent didn’t lose the master’s money – so why didn’t he also get blessed with a little more? Why instead was all of it taken away and he was left with nothing?
Life Application: Everyone
- How would your life change if you lived like everything belongs to God? If you already live this way, how did your life change from before?
- Read Matthew 25:21. What are you doing now that you think Jesus will celebrate when you meet Him in Heaven?
- What is one area where you are not being open handed with what God has already given you? What is keeping you from giving it to God?
- Have you ever trusted God by giving Him something huge? What happened?
Life Application: Married Couples
- How would your marriage change if you and your spouse lived like everything belongs to God? If you currently live this way, what was your marriage like before and how did you make this change?
- Spouses often share financial resources and time commitments – how are you and your spouse being faithful stewards of the finances and talents God has given you as a couple?
- Are there areas where you and your spouse are holding back and not opening your hands to give back to God what He has already given you? Why/not? What is one thing you can change this week in this area?
- Have you or your spouse ever trusted God with something huge or incredibly important? What was the outcome? Does this make it easier to open your hands and give back to God? Why/not?
Life Application: Parents
- Children struggle with managing money and young children struggle with the concept of giving things away. How can you be a visible to your children of how your family’s lives would change if you all lived like everything belongs to God?
- An attitude of entitlement is something we have to fight against frequently – both within ourselves as well as within our children. One of the best ways to combat an attitude of entitlement is using the talents and abilities God has given us in order to serve others. What is one thing you and your kid(s) can do in order to give each of your talents and abilities back to God through serving others? Engage them in this discussion if they are able to.
- What is one area where you as a parent are not being open handed with what God has already given you? What is keeping you from giving it to God?
- Have you or your kid(s) ever trusted God by giving Him something huge? What happened? Children are amazing story-tellers – ask them this week if they’ve seen or heard of any stories where someone trusted God with something really big or important and what happened in that situation. Share one or two stories with your group in an email or during next week’s meeting.