Week 5 – Creation Renewed
Fellowship – Snacks (10 minutes)
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, discuss the following: “Who is the wealthiest person you have met?”
Read: Luke 16:19-31
- Read I Timothy 6:17-19. What does being rich in the kingdom of God look like?
- Jesus tells the story of a rich man for the third time. What might it mean that the rich man is not named but the poor man, Lazarus, is named? [Reverses who is important.]
- Why would this story have been surprising to Jesus’ audience? (Who would they have assumed to be carried away by angels to be with Abraham?) [The audience would have expected to hear of a lowly Israelite being carried away, while an oppressive Gentile figure to be in Hades. In Jesus’ telling, an Israelite (son of Abraham) is in Hades while someone of lowly status is lifted up.
- Who does the rich man express compassion for? [His brothers.] Why is it easier to express compassion on those closest to us and so hard to express compassion to those we do not know?
- What does it say of the rich man that he requests for Lazarus to be sent to soothe his tormenting? [That’s what poor people are supposed to do – serve the rich.] What does it reveal of the rich man? [He had known Lazarus’ status and did not help and doesn’t seem to have changed even in Hades!]
- What caused the rich man to be sent to Hades? [His lack of extending compassion and generosity to Lazarus.]
- John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, commented on this passage, “it is no more sinful to be rich than to be poor. But it is dangerous beyond expression. Therefore, I remind all of you that are of this number, that have the conveniences of life, and something over that you walk upon slippery ground. You continually tread on snares and deaths. You are every moment on the verge of hell!” (Sermon 112: “The Rich Man and Lazarus.” Quoted in the Wesley Study Bible p. 1268.)
- Reflect on this quote as a group.
- As a result of this worship series, how as your discipleship been impacted or challenged?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or similar prayer:
Gracious God, we desire to be apprenticed in your ways. Continue to prompt us by your Holy Spirit where our lives need amending that we might glorify you in all we do. Amen.
Being Consumed by William T. Cavanaugh
How Much is Enough?: Hungering for God in an affluent culture by Arthur Simon
God’s Economy: Redefining the Health & Wealth Gospel by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
Toxic Charity by Robert D. Lupton
Discipleship Ministries, www.umcdiscipleship.org
See All the People, www.seeallthepeople.org