Bible Study, Wednesday Evening

Materialism – Master or Slave?

To Think About:

  • What possession do you have that you would hat the most to lose? (Can’t be house, vehicle, person or pets)
  • What pressure does money (or lack of) put on your relationships with other people?
  • What pressure does money (or lack of) put on your relationship with God?

Let’s read Mark 10: 17 – 31:

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Let’s observe:

  • What was the rich man like?
    • We don’t know a lot about him but he seems sincere in his attempt to obey God’s law.
  • What was his assumption about the way to gain eternal life?
  • What did the young man’s response to Jesus’ challenge indicate about his priorities (vs. 22)?
    • He couldn’t bring himself to part with his wealth.  He was putting his faith in his wealth.
  • What evidence do you see that Jesus didn’t promise His followers and easy life (vs. 25, 29-31)?
    • Note:  Jesus is not saying that rich people cannot go to Heaven.  There were many rich men in the Old Testament – Abraham, Job, David and Solomon are just a few.

Now read Matthew 6: 25 – 34:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

To think about:

  • What is the main thrust of this passage?
  • Why do we as Christians not need to worry about material things?
  • What worries can eclipse your focus on God?
  • What courage do these words bring to you?
  • What does it mean to seek first God’s Kingdom?
  • What helps you put God first again?
  • Think about your spending habits.  What are you likely to buy because of the materialistic expectations of your society and not because you need it?

Let’s not worry about “keeping up with the Joneses”.


What can you do this week to make materialism your slave and not your master?


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