More than Money Bible Study & Leader Guide
EACH BIBLE STUDY GOES ALONG WITH THE CHAPTERS IN MORE THAN MONEY: BEING A STEWARD OF ALL GOD'S GIVEN YOU; AND CAN BE PAIRED WITH THE LEADER GUIDE TO BE USEd IN SMALL GROUPS OR FOR INDIVIDUAL STUDY.
Through seasons of scarcity and seasons of plenty, all of life is in God’s hands. He is the ultimate faithful steward, and knowing the faithfulness of God builds a foundation for our own faithful stewardship. God has entrusted to us everything that is in our care, and our love for God and for others should compel us to live rightly.
Stewardship is gratitude for the love God has shown us. Therefore, the decisions we make about our finances, bodies, minds, abilities, time, relationships, substance, positions, and how we share the gospel are all a response to God’s faithfulness.
Our bodies are essential to experiencing life in this world. Our relationships with our bodies are storied—they tell the stories of our lives. With our body we experience pleasure—the taste of a warm cup of coffee, cool air blowing through our hair in a fall breeze, a first kiss. With our bodies we also experience pain. And as we grow, we even refer to aches and soreness as “growing pains.”
This tension between pleasure and pain, experienced in the body, is part of the human experience. According to the Hebrew Bible, the beauty and the hardship of life in the body began a long time ago, in a garden.
“Isn’t it strange that we seem to think salvation only applies to our heart and soul? We assume that our mind needs to change very little, when in fact every aspect of it needs to change," affirmed Calvin Partain. Faithful stewardship of the mind means acknowledging that “each of us is a steward/manager of our own mind.” This means that while mental tapes may play—the desire for self-aggrandizement or the desire to punish those who have hurt us—we are to take those thoughts captive.
We can choose to turn the tape off, instead adopting the advice Paul gave to the Philippians: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8 ESV). Thinking about things that are true, good, and that praise God can help us “renew” our minds (Rom. 12:2).
And while God’s voice frequently comes in ways that defy common sense or convenience, we need look nowhere more extraordinary than our own lives to see that God’s voice is trustworthy and true. Every call to use our abilities and gifts is a call to follow Jesus. When God calls us to follow Him in this way, He will gift us with His presence and the ability to serve well. However, if we pursue only those things of which we’re certain and confident, we will miss the blessing of following God into the unknown. Taking a risk—saying yes to something we’re scared to say yes to—is one way we discover God’s faithfulness. But this requires that we do the hard thing. This requires that we do the thing that scares us.
If God truly is the one in whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), then God is just as present with us in our sleeping and our waking, in our shuffling papers and in our driving home, in our rocking our children to sleep and in our bowing our heads to pray. Faithful stewardship of our time means when we travel with God, we always travel “to the right somewhere.” When we pay attention to the God who indwells us, God will begin to help us, in the words of Partain, to accept God’s agenda wholeheartedly.
June | July
From cover to cover, the Bible makes one thing abundantly clear— God is relational. God desires a relationship with us, and God cares about our relationships with others, too. The commands to love God (Deut. 6:5) and to love neighbor (Lev. 19:18) are built into the fabric of the Hebrews’ life with God. This dual command is reinforced by Jesus, who acknowledges its centrality within Jewish law and its life-giving nature (Luke 10:25–29). And in the high priestly prayer in John’s Gospel, Jesus sums up God’s intentions for relationships: “That they may be one, as we are one” (John 17:11 NRSV).
As Calvin T. Partain reminds us, substance is more than money. It includes every material thing we have, and all these things are a “trust” from God. The ways the Israelites were to use their resources included being trustworthy with the trust they received from God. This meant their substance was ultimately not about them. Rather, it was about God and about how God wanted them to use it.
Central to Calvin T. Partain’s explanation of faithfulness in our positions is the understanding that our lives on earth are to honor Christ. Partain writes, “Christ needs for you to show them by living a converted life that He is truly excellent.” Our position as a citizen of heaven and a resident alien on earth involves this reality, which Partain highlights: God chose us, He sanctified us through the work of the Spirit and the sprinkling of His blood, He caused us to be born again, and He saved us.
The parables are intended to illustrate the magnanimous nature of God, who is always looking for us. Once this truth is rooted in our hearts, we will want to share it. When we share the gospel, we simply share what God has done in our own lives. We don’t have to use a lot of words or a prepared script. The gospel should flow naturally out of our lives, out of what Jesus is teaching us personally.
November | December
We cannot do anything in our own power (John 15:5) because the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41). And whenever Jesus grants us power (Acts 1:8), it is always in service to something greater than ourselves. Therefore, the secret to successful stewardship is not that I am faithful because I am not. I will always seek my own self-interest. Rather, the secret to successful stewardship is recognizing that God is faithful.