devozine

For Youth Workers Post

$$$

Dixon Kinser

“In the Habit” session for devozine meditations for July 22–28, 2013.

MAKING THE CONNECTION

“In the years following hurricane Katrina, I was among the many volunteers who helped clean and rebuild the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Over five summers, I learned a lot about different types of hammers: big hammers, small hammers, milled-face and smooth-faced hammers, ball-peen hammers, and sledges. I also learned that to do a job safely and correctly meant choosing the right hammer.

“Hammers are not always used for their intended purpose. Every year a handful of news stories tell how hammers have been used as weapons. When a hammer is used to injure or kill, the nature of the hammer and its intended purpose are violated. The tool was not designed to be a weapon.

“When Christians think about money, they should remember the hammer. A dollar bill, like a hammer, is a tool. It can be used to build, restore, and repair; or it can be used to destroy, demolish, and devastate. The difference is in what the person wielding it chooses to do and whether he or she chooses to abide by the nature of money and the intent of its maker.

“The lesson below explores these questions: How can we use our money to heal and not to destroy? How do best use our resources to love God and neighbor? May you be blessed as you walk into these conversations with the youth in your group and may you find the freedom that comes from using God’s gifts in God’s ways.” —Cheers, Dixon

 

MEET THE WRITER

devozine Dixon KinserDixon Kinser is a husband, father, author, speaker, musician, amateur filmmaker, and Episcopal priest. He works in youth- and young-adult ministry, loves comic books, and lives with his family live in Nashville, Tennessee. His first book was Exploring Blue Like Jazz, with Donald Miller; and he has recently contributed chapters to It Happens: True Tales from the Trenches of Youth Ministry and Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity.

 

STUFF YOU WILL NEED

 

PLUGGED IN

Here are a few resources for exploring the healthy use of money:

Books

Movies

Organizations that serve the poor in which one dollar makes a difference:

 

CHECKING IN

Ask group members to sit in a circle or in several circles if the group is large. Ask everyone in turn to say his or her name and to answer this question:
       Are you a spender or a saver?

Often our current attitudes stem directly from our past experiences. Use the following questions to open up a discussion about each person’s history with money:
       Who taught you the value of money? How? What did you learn? Do you agree with their values? How do you act on them?
       How do you spend your money? How do you budget your money? What guides your decisions about saving, spending, and being generous? Do you give money away? Why? Why not?
       When have you or has someone you know placed too much or too little value on money or on the things money can buy? How do your priorities affect the way you spend or save money?
       When have you misspent, overspent, or wasted your money? How did you feel about misusing money? How did your parents and friends react? What did you learn?

 

EXPLORING THE WORD

Scripture: Deuteronomy 10:12–14; Luke 12:13–21; Leviticus 25; Matthew 20:1–16;
Acts 2:42–47 and 4:32–36 

Read aloud Deuteronomy 10:12–14 (NIV):

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.

Invite discussion:
       What is involved in walking in obedience and loving God?
       Why does the command to love and obey God get followed by the announcement that “To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it”? (Loving and obeying God begins with the fundamental assumption that our stuff is not ours. Whatever I have, including my money, does not belong to me. It belongs to God.)

Ask people to form four small groups (an individual or pair can do the work of a group). Assign each group one of these scripture passages:

Instruct each group to read the scripture and to discuss the following questions:
       What is the scripture about?
       What is the point of the scripture?
       What did the text say about dealing with money to the people who first heard it?
Bring the groups together to report on their findings.

Introduce a metaphor comparing the dollar bill to a hammer (see “Making the Connection”). Then invite discussion:
       What does each of the scripture passages say about dealing with our money today?
       How can we use our money to destroy?
       How can we use our money to build and create?
       What is the right way to use your money? What is the wrong way?
       Is it wrong to be wealthy?

 

SHARING IN PRAYER

Conclude the session by inviting each person to offer a one-word prayer indicating how he or she wants to use his or her money to demonstrate love and obedience to God. Then invite the group to pray, using this collect “For the Right Use of God’s Gifs” from the Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty God, whose loving hand has given us all that we possess: Grant us grace that we may honor you with our substance, and, remembering the account which we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

TAKING IT FURTHER

I am surprised by how many long-time Christians do not share their money. For many reasons, monetary giving is no longer a part of Christian discipleship. This is tragic, of course, because Jesus indicates over and over again how free we are from worry and anxiety not when we have more than we need, but when we give.

The notion of a tithe, giving ten percent of our income, comes from the old temple tax established in the Torah. If you’ve never given of your resources before, this is a good place to start. However, the first Christians, described in Acts, did not give ten percent. They gave sacrificially to anyone in need. They went without so that others would have what they needed.

How is God be nudging you to integrate giving into your own life? What could you go without for a season so that someone else can have what he or she needs? (I have abstained from eating out and buying music and have downgraded my cable so that I could give more money to organizations that serve the poor.)

Pray. Get creative. God is near.

—from devozine In the Habit (July/August 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
Back To Home

To Order Devozine Magazine, call 1.800.972.0433.