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Growing in Prayer Together
1 Timothy 2:6-19 (NIV)
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12–13 (NIV)
flee from all this, and pursue… Fight the good fight of faith.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13–14 (NIV)
to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
What if biblical generosity is actually an invitation to greater freedom and joy?
Small Group Questions
CONNECT WITH GOD (choose this practice of remembering or use a practice from the previous week)
- The practice of remembering helps us to see ourselves and God rightly. It draws us back into God’s story and orients us back to the hope of God in the midst of our sometimes messy lives. The practice of remembering invites us to be attentive to God’s movement in our lives over time.
- Explain: During these next 7-10 minutes, you will practice a version of the Daily Examen of St. Ignatius, a contemplative prayer practice “led by memory”. Follow the five steps below and reflect in silent prayer or journaling.
1. Thanksgiving: Recognize God’s presence right now.
- What are you especially grateful for today?
2. Petition: Ask the love of God to be with you as you review your day.
3. Review: Recognize any sources of joy, love, and hope from your day and then recognize sources of trouble, darkness, or loss in your day.
- Have you noticed the presence of God in any of this?
4. Respond: What is my response to God as I remember and review my day?
5. Look with hope for a new tomorrow.
- How do I want to wake up tomorrow?
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
Spend 5 minutes alone reading and responding to 1 Timothy 6:6-19. You might consider the following questions while journaling:
- What does contentment mean to you?
- How have you experienced “contentment as great gain” in your own life?
- How has your attitude toward money impacted your contentment in life? What kinds of things have formed your attitude toward money? Be honest in your reflections.
After 5 minutes, share your reflections as a group.
CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Read the passages and review the message outline. Then select the best questions or customize the questions for your group.)
- Read 1 Timothy 6:6-19.
- Read the main points from the message outline.
- What language does Paul use to describe the “love of money” in verses 9-10?
- Have there been times in your life or in the life of a loved one when greed has caused wandering in the faith?
- How does Paul suggest Timothy “fight the good fight of the faith?” (verse 12)
- How is Jesus described in verses 11-16?
- How might you cultivate righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness in your own life?
- What can we learn about who God is from this passage?
CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD (select one question for discussion)
- In what specific ways has the generosity described in verses 17-19 demonstrated the love of Christ in your own life, in the life of SBPC, or in our broader community?
- How is God challenging you to pursue godliness and generosity in your work, your neighborhood, or your community?
- What kinds of practices would form us as a people who are known by their hope in God and not in wealth?
Spend time praying for a life marked by generosity. If possible, break into pairs to pray for one another: specifically offering prayers of confession, thankfulness, and hope.