Welcome to the final week of our summer sermon series on James called Faith that Works. We see there is a way we can handle our resources that invites blessing or invites misery. This week our conversation considers four practices about the way we choose to use and steward the resources God gifts to us.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
Share part of your story
What’s one of your favorite memories from this summer so far?
Take a moment to discuss some praises or answered prayers. How have you seen God showing up in your life lately?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Read together James 5:1-6. Recap this passage. What’s the main point?
God cares about how we manage our resources. The way we do this can bring either blessing or misery. Have you ever been the recipient of someone else’s financial choices? How did this impact you?
James makes three statements about what happens to the things the greedy farmers acquired (James 5:2-3a). What are they? What do you think he is trying to say?
The greedy farmers seem to be overcome by a desire for more. Why do you think the tendency for more is so enticing? How do you see that happen in our world?
Materialism is the idea that more stuff will make us happy and that once we have that next thing—life will have meaning or purpose. How can that be dangerous? What are some things that people are hoping will bring happiness or prestige?
More stuff doesn’t equal real happiness or fulfillment. When have you been disappointed with the happiness or fulfillment of something you acquired? What was that like?
What does James call the farmers out for doing in James 5:4? How is that a lack of integrity? How would you define integrity? Why do you think integrity is important to God?
Integrity is important not only in the business world but in our family, our homes, our schools, etc. What are some instances (in business or in life) when a lack of integrity might be excused or accepted by our world? How have you seen power mismanaged through a lack of integrity?
Growing in integrity starts by acknowledging our lack of it and getting ourselves right with God through repentance and confession. Then, we are able to work out integrity toward other people through the help of the Holy Spirit. What are some simple things we can do to help us grow in integrity?
How did the lack of contentment seen in James’ time play out by mistreating others?
We live in a day and age when many around us have plenty more than needed. How do we know when we have crossed the line into self-indulgence? What guidelines can help us decide when enough is enough?
We can grow in contentment as we practice gratitude. Practice right now by sharing with your group 3 things you are grateful for.
Student Ministries Pastor Aaron Buer shared a story about the Roman emperor Julian and his observation of the early church’s compassion and care. What was it that bothered the emperor about this?
To grow in compassion, we can model Christ’s love by caring for people around us in desperate situations. What might a desperate situation look like in our community today? How could we walk with people in desperate situations?
Like the early church, we should be known by our compassion and care for others. Who in your life is in a desperate situation and how can you walk with them?
Today’s conversation revolved around four practices related to our finances. We should practice caution, integrity, contentment and compassion. Where were you challenged the most? What is a next step you can take this week in that area?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
As the calendar turns to August and we begin to think about the fall, is there someone unconnected to a group that you could add to your group? Spend some time thinking about the different people you know and who might need what your group has. Come up with a plan to invite them to join your group.
Download a printable PDF here.