This week Pastor Dave preaches on trap #3 in the Money Matters series: The Pride Pit.
1. Share a childhood lesson learned about money.
2. Define pride. How can pride be a money trap? Read the excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity http://bthl.ch/fellowship before group. How does this bring clarity to your understanding of pride as a money trap?
Pride defined from the sermon: 1. An inflated opinion of one’s self, exaggerated self-esteem, conceit, an excessive estimate of one’s own worth. 2. A belief of one’s superiority over others. 3. The showing of this attitude in behavior: haughtiness, arrogance. 4. Putting one’s self on the throne. 5. (CS Lewis) “the complete anti-God state of mind.”
Discuss any insights from the excerpt.
3. List some of the promises (from point IIa in the sermon) given to those who obey the Lord. How does financial prosperity fit into God’s promises?
- Freedom – John 8:31-32
- Joy – John 15:10-11
- Discernment – Heb. 5:13-14 ESV
- Connection/communion – John 14:21, 23
- Usefulness – 2 Tim. 2:20-21 (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
- Confidence – 1 John 3:21-22
- Friendship with Christ – John 15:14
- Deliverance from the enemy – James 4:7, 8
- Rewards/inheritance/ruling with Christ – Rom. 8:17; Rev. 2:26-27; Luke 19:17
Financial prosperity is not promised to followers of Christ in this life. Riches can be a blessing, or they can be a curse (Prov 30:7-9). Contentment in Christ is possible in any situation, whether poor or rich (Phil 4:11-13), and that turns any financial situation into a blessing.
4. Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19 and answer the following:
a. Go to www.globalrichlist.com and enter your annual gross income. Who is rich? Where do you fit in?
It’s easy to compare ourselves to those around us who seem to be richer and think that we are poor. Or at least not rich. But Global Rich List is a sobering reminder that even most of America’s “poor” are rich compared to most of the world’s population.
b. Why would someone with more earthly wealth be proud about it? Does that ever happen to you?
It is easy to let our possessions or wealth define us. In that mindset, the more we have, the better we are. Especially if we have worked hard to earn it. That makes us better than “those people” who are too lazy or have self-destructive habits or medical issues or bad financial sense or rotten luck who don’t have all this good stuff.
c. How does the Lord view people who “have more stuff” (See James 2:1-9)? What does He expect of them?
While we might be distracted by all our cool stuff, God isn’t. He looks at the heart (1 Sam 16:7), and he shows no favoritism or partiality. We are each made in His image. His Son shed His blood to offer salvation and adoption to each of us. No matter how hard we have worked, how much stuff we have, or how much we have achieved, we are all equal in God’s sight.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 tells us what God expects of those of us who are “rich in this present world:” to be humble and generous and to trust in God rather than riches.
d. How can you practically fulfill the instructions in this passage?
Brainstorm practical ways to be humble, generous, and trusting of God. Practice humility by serving someone you would rather not serve. Practice generosity by giving something you would rather keep. Practice trust in God by taking a step of faith when you hear His voice. Maybe it’s just by doing the first two.
5. How does the gospel relate to the issue of pride? Money? For one idea read the article at http://bthl.ch/boast
Point #1 in the article linked above answers the first question well:
1) Recognize that it’s all about Jesus.
In the context of 1 Corinthians 1:31, Paul discourages the Corinthians from deriving their self-worth from personal achievements and crediting their salvation to their own lovableness. Jesus is the source and sum of everything; we are not. This compels us to live a life marked by grace and humility. [Emphasis added]
The gospel is the opposite of every problem with money. The Simple Snare? We have riches of wisdom and knowledge in Christ (Col 2:3-4). The Greed God? We have contentment and satisfaction in Christ (Phil 4:11-13). The Pride Pit? Our self-worth is in Christ, not in our achievements or wealth (1 Cor 1:31). Anxiety or fear about money? We are secure in Christ (Rom 8:28; 35-39).
6. Parents, share how you are currently training your children to think rightly about money and handle it God’s way. Brainstorm ways you could improve.
Here are some suggestions that were given in our question-writing team: For very young children start with the concept of sharing, emphasizing that it’s not yours, it’s all God’s. As children grow older, make it a habit to talk about money in front of the kids – spending decisions, budgeting, investing – so they learn good processes. For more formal financial training, there are Financial Peace, Jr. books and resources available from Dave Ramsey.
7. Engage the following regarding “Pride:”
a. Take the pride assessment at http://bthl.ch/pride .
Take some time to discuss the pride assessment, similar to the Greed/Gratitude chart from last week. For those who struggle with pride (all of us?), the solution is talked about in question b.
b. In Deuteronomy 8:1-20 (point III), Moses commands the Israelites to remember, praise/give thanks, and humble their hearts as a solution to the pride pit. Brainstorm practical applications for each.
In this passage some of the things Moses tell them to remember are the same things we must remember (not forget)
- Where we came from. We came from, in a word, Egypt. We were dead. We were slaves. We were without hope and without God in the world (Eph. 2:12-13). Everybody’s “Egypt” has its unique geographical aspects, but without the touch of his grace we were all spiritual toast. Remembering that will help keep us out of the pride pit.
- What He did to bring us out of that place. In their situation the Lord worked the mighty miracles recorded in Exodus to defeat the nation that held his people in bondage and to overcome its ruler. In our case our Father did the same. He worked the mighty miracles of the sending of his own son in human flesh, resurrecting him from death, and defeating our enemies of sin and Satan and death. He bought us with the blood of his own Son. We were bought at a tremendous price. Our freedom and blessings are the result of his grace. Remembering that should help keep us out of the pride pit.
- Where our blessings come from. Like our forefathers in the faith we might be tempted to think that our blessings, specifically our wealth, come from our own abilities, our own cleverness, or our own devices. Remember, Moses tells them and us, the very abilities we have are gifts from God. Every good gift comes from Him. So those good gifts are not a basis for our pride but for our gratitude. (I Cor. 4:7)
How can we remember these things? Read about them. Post verse reminders throughout your home. Agree with group members to text one another throughout the week and remind them of the gospel. The possibilities are endless.
As a child, I enjoyed watching the movie Polly, a remake of the classic Pollyanna. In the story, a happy, grateful little orphan girl transforms the life of a town and of her grumpy, wealthy grandmother. In one scene, someone asks Polly why she is so glad all the time, and she tells them about the “glad game” her father taught her when he was alive. Her parents had been poor ministers, which led to many “hardships” that they turned into a game: how can we find something to be glad about in this situation? She gave the example of when she had to wear clothes out of a donation box, she was glad they weren’t boys’ clothes!
This is one easy – and potentially fun! – way to give thanks in every situation.
Humble their hearts
We already talked a little bit about practical ways to be humble in question 4d. Remind people of what you talked about there, and continue that discussion or bring it up in a slightly different context this time.