The Problem with Wealth
The Point: Contentment comes from Christ, not our wealth.
Get Into the Study
Share the following story with your group as you introduce this session.
According to Forbes, Kylie Jenner has become the world’s youngest ever self-made billionaire. The 21-year-old social media star signed an exclusive distribution deal for Kylie Cosmetics with Ulta, last year. Since then, Forbes estimates the cosmetics company, which Jenner owns completely, to be worth at least $900 million. The estimated value of the company combined with the money Jenner has already made from Kylie Cosmetics put her over the $1 billion threshold.
Ask Question #1: What’s the best advice you’ve heard about money?
Money is not evil. Wealth can be used wisely to provide for yourself and others. However, money can quickly become a demanding master. Jesus warned, “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). In this session, we will see that even great wealth does not guarantee contentment. Contentment comes from Christ, not our wealth.
Nikki Wilbanks is a stay-at-home mom, writer, Bible study teacher, and commercial real estate appraiser/investor. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University. She lives with her husband and two children in Murfreesboro, TN.
After reading Ecclesiastes 5:13-17, find one or two spam emails that are obvious scams for money. Click here for examples of email scams. Print enough copies for all the group members. Distribute the copies to the group, give them time to scan them, and say, “I think we should respond to one of these offers. It sounds like we will receive a lot of money! What do you think?” Hopefully, someone will say no because the email is a scam. Lead the group to evaluate this scenario. Ask, “Why do these emails continue to proliferate, although most people know they are scams?” (From the KJV Adult Leader Guide, p. 67 and the Senior Adult Leader Guide, p. 67).
Live It Out
Use the following illustration as you begin your discussion of the Live It Out section.
Americans currently owe a record $1.04 trillion in credit card debt, according to USA Today. It sounds crazy, but it makes sense that we’d be at an all-time high. With the internet, social media, and smartphones that save your credit card information, it’s a little too easy to buy things we don’t need. We don’t even have to get off the couch to make a purchase. According to 24/7Wallstreet.com, Americans owe “$8,195, on average, on both retail- and bank-issued credit cards.” And in places where the median income rises, the amount of credit card debt rises as well. For example, in Alaska, the median income is $73,000, and Alaskans owe an average of roughly $10,600 in credit card debt. In Missouri, where the median income is $53,000, the average credit card debt is closer to $7,700.
Regardless of state, the average American is swamped by debt worth well over 10% of their income—and the more money someone has, the more debt they’re racking up. It’s time we face it—we live in a debt and shopping culture.
So as Christians, who know that money—and stuff—won’t fulfill us, how do we discipline ourselves to not overspend? Solomon knew, and he told us thousands of years ago. Be content in what God has given to you. Don’t let the trappings of this world fool you. After a certain financial marker, if you have more money, all you’ll do is spend more money.
Ashley Emmert is a freelance writer and full-time mama from Chicago, where she lives with her husband and her new baby boy. You can find her on Twitter at @ashgemmert, or failing to update her blog at ashleygraceemmert.blogspot.com.
- If money was no object, what problem in the world would you seek to solve with your wealth?
- When have you been especially blessed by someone else’s generosity?
- What are some of the benefits of building wealth?
- According to this passage, why is wealth frustrating?
- What is the false sense of hope we place on the possessions we accumulate?
- What’s your initial reaction to these verses?
- How would you summarize Solomon’s point in these verses?
- What are some signs that a person is putting their hope in money?
- How can you use wealth as a blessing for future generations instead of letting it become a curse?
- What does this passage teach us about the heart of God towards us and our toil in life?
- What practical steps can we take to learn to be more content?
- How do you know where to draw the line between building wealth wisely and becoming obsessed with more?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: Finding Meaning, Session 5
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
- ParentLife – Richness In Poverty