Family Bible Study lesson for Oct. 24: Reaching For Life : Friday, Oct. 1, 2004
October 1 2004 by Robert Hunter

Family Bible Study lesson for Oct. 24: Reaching For Life : Friday, Oct. 1, 2004
Friday, Oct. 1, 2004

Family Bible Study lesson for Oct. 24: Reaching For Life

By Robert Hunter
Focal Passage: Matthew 19:16-30

One definition of life is the interval between the inception of an organism and death. A person's existence is noted with their birthday and date of death separated by a dash. Life might be best defined by what a person does with the dash.

I read of two very different approaches to life. Bob Buford developed the Leadership Network. He wants to die penniless or to "bounce" his last check. He matches the total contributions his employees give to local churches. He thinks he is passing along all the good gifts he has received from God.

Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in America, thinks he is honoring his gift by continuing to do his best by making more money. His plans are that upon his death a foundation will be established, and a team of people will spend their lifetimes giving his stockpiled wealth away.

Which is the best way? For most of us the question is not which way to choose. Our problem is that we just don't have a plan. We prefer the way of no response.

In this lesson we look at the experience of the "rich young ruler" and listen to the conversation between Jesus and His disciples. Both texts have applications for today's believers.

Search for real life

Matthew 19:16-22

We refer to the main character here as the rich young ruler. He came to Jesus and wanted to know about eternal life.

He was respectable. He was on the right track. He was mannerly in his approach to Jesus. He called Jesus "good." But there was something missing in his life. He wanted a dimension to life that reached beyond the temporal. He was brave to ask this question publicly. He was genuinely interested in eternal life and how he might "buy" it.

Don't let money hinder real life

Matthew 19:23-26

"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." We stumble on the word "rich," but it might be interpreted "privilege." Have you ever noticed that on many occasions academia seems to push God aside? We could paraphrase this to say that it is easier to reach the uneducated person than the doctor, lawyer or seminarian, that with our education comes self-reliance, not God-reliance.

The rich young ruler was relying on wealth for satisfaction in life not God.

Forsake all else for real life

Matthew 19:27-30

As an old expression says: "This is where the rubber meets the road." We try to define ourselves by possessions, things and stuff. This rich young ruler was ultimately possessed by his stuff instead of possessing it.

To gain real life we must relinquish control to God.

Will we be like the young man of our text? When faced with the choice of his old, secure self versus the challenge of life as a disciple of Jesus, the young man chose the old. When faced with change, he chose not to accept.

Who or what controls your life? Isn't it ironic that the top status symbol in America has become the one-income family where one spouse stays home and raises the children?

Some safe principles to follow include:

  • Priorities: What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  • Credit: The biggest problem is that most families over extend themselves.
  • Windfalls: Perhaps a tax refund, inheritance or raise comes your way. Many are inclined to spend on luxuries they wouldn't ordinarily consider.
  • Provisions: Prepare for irregular large obligations, such as insurance premiums.
  • Ownership: What it costs to keep something may be much more than simply the costs of purchase.
  • Leaks: Always be careful of impulse buying.
  • Habits: Our wants often exceed our needs.
  • Saving: We should save even small amounts.
  • Attitude: We have to start where we are financially, not where our role models might be who took years to get there.
  • O.S. Hawkins wrote a book that speaks volumes with its title, Money Talks: But What Is It Really Saying? Something to think about.

    10/1/2004 12:00:00 AM by Robert Hunter | with 0 comments

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