This Study Guide is from The Rev. Adam Hamilton’s Course in The Walk: Five Essential Practices of Christian Life.
There are no hard and fast rules. You can do this at your own speed. Classes are on Wednesdays at 7:00pm with Rev Card. If neither of these times is convenient, you can follow along online at facebook.com/pumcnh, our website peterboroughumc.org, or on Pray Act Pray Again. We have a private Facebook Group you may request to join as well.
This information is shared for your enrichment.
The Walk: Five Essential Practices of Christian Life
Lesson 4: Give: Where Your Treasure Is
Opening Directions and Questions to Consider
- We like to maintain confidentiality so if you hear something you might like to share, please ask the person who has shared for permission.
- This is our second time using a Zoom call—so as we venture out into new territory, please let me know if you have thoughts on how to make things better.
Week 4: Session Goals
Through conversation, activities, and reflection, participants will:
- Understand Jesus teachings about generosity.
- Explore how gratitude and purposeful living influence generosity.
- Examine our own feelings about living a life of generosity.
Preparation for the Study
(If you have time to read before class tomorrow night, and insights while reading, jot down anything you might want to discuss. If there is anything from the last three classes, let us know. You can also send ideas to me ahead of time.)
- If you get to read the text before the session—that is helpful, however we will able to show the class the video when we do our Zoom call, and Hamilton does cover most of the text in his videos. I will get on the call ten minutes before the class so people can try out how Zoom works if they have not used it before.
- We may have new people joining, if that is true, we will ask everyone introduce themselves with one or two sentences. Please indicate where you live.
- Zoom calls usually have squares with people’s faces in them. You have to put it on video and sound to be able to participate. You can also call in on a phone line and listen if you have computer problems.
- Last week’s class went well. The learning curve for this is high—but if you are isolated for a long time, this can help us stay connected.
- Here is the information for the call. You should have received an email inviting you to the meeting.
- Kathleene Card is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
- Kathleene Card’s Zoom Meeting
- Time: This is a recurring meeting Meet anytime
- Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/614090896
- Meeting ID: 614 090 896
- One tap mobile: +19292056099,,614090896# US (New York)
- Dial by your location: +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
- Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aduOKaouqX
(*Unfortunately this is not the full video)
From Last Session
Since the last session
- How have you shared the love of Christ with others?
- What examples of acts of kindness have you experienced?
- Did you experience any frustrations as you practiced the discipline of service and as you sought to extend the acts of kindness?
- In what new ways did you serve Christ and others as a result of intentionally practicing this discipline?
- In what ways did serving others bring you joy?
The word Hamilton wants us to examine tonight is Generosity.
Prayer: Would someone volunteer to read this and open us with prayer?
Holy and Generous God, thank you for your abundant blessings and your generosity toward us. We stand in awe of your gifts of overflowing grace, mercy, and love. Open our hearts that we may respond to your love with generosity toward others. In the name of your son, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
Learning Together Video, Study, and Discussion
After we watch the video, these are the question we will contemplate together.
- In the video Hamilton describes the Bible and his wallet being in conflict. Do you experience the same conflict in your life? How so?
- Do you agree that our tax returns and our check books are reflections of our priorities and values? Why or why not?
- What does extraordinary generosity mean to you?
- How does such generosity share our outlook on life and our walk with Christ?
- What is the relationship between the way we give together and the way we give as individuals?
- Hamilton says when we die, the only things we can take with us is what we have given away. How can you invest more in these external treasures?
Bible Study and Discussion—Matthew 6:19-21
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
19 “Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them. 20 Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moth and rust don’t eat them and where thieves don’t break in and steal them. 21 Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Why does Jesus say “Do not” or “Stop” storing up treasures for yourself on earth?
- Hamilton mentions two key points:
- A desire for money and material possessions may overpower our desire for a relationship with God.
- Jesus tells us to place our faith in God who is trustworthy, not in material possessions and money which are easily lost. (think of what is happening now in March of 2020.)
- Do you agree/disagree?
- Have you had the experience of losing an earthy treasure to rust, breakage, theft, or other damage? If so, how did you feel about this loss?
- What are “treasures in heaven” that Jesus calls us to “store up” (NRSV) or “collect” (CEB) (These relate to our growing faith and relationship with God and our acceptance of God’s love for us.)
Read again Matthew 6.21 Where is your treasure? Where is your heart? (remember sharing is voluntary and confidential.
Book Study and Discussion
See Chapter 4 section on “Hedonism: Chasing After the Wind.”
Hamilton highlights the contrast between the message we receive from Jesus and the message we receive from our culture.
Here are two contrasting messages:
- Luke 12.15: (NRSV) 15 And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
- We live in a society where every voice around us is telling us just the opposite of Jesus’ teaching—that our lives, in fact, do revolve around an abundance of stuff we own. Our culture tells us that, if we just have a bigger, nicer, or cooler stuff, we’d be happier. (THE WALK, p. 91)
- When have you acted on the belief that you would find happiness and fulfillment if you owned a certain item?
- What Happened?
If life “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” what are the keys to a good life?
- Hamilton writes about
- living purposefully, and
- Would you add any others?
Let’s look at those three and any others you would add:
Gratitude: giving thanks for what you have. (Hamilton’s story: how he feels about Mustang)
- Take time to call to mind (silently) two things that you own. (1) one which still serves its purpose and (2) one that you are dissatisfied with and would like to replace.
- We will go around twice saying:
- I really like my__________. I am thankful for it. (No comments.) If only one item comes to mind, you can be thankful for that twice. You can also pass.)
- After we do this, we will ask:
- Did you feel differently saying this about the thing you would like to replace?
- Could you adopt this adopt this attitude toward your possessions?
- How does gratitude affect our generosity toward others?
At the beginning of this study in Chapter 1 we focused on worship and prayer. Giving thanks to God is an important part of both our individual worship and corporate worship.
- What adds meaning to your life?
- What gives you fulfillment and a sense of purpose every day?
We will read
- John 14.6 Jesus answered, “I am the way the truth and the life.”
- Matthew 22.37-39 37 He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.
We will explore these questions:
- How does loving God and loving neighbor give our lives purpose?
- What is the relationship between this love and generosity?
This is the third key to the good life that Hamilton writes about in Chapter 4.
It is important to remember that we remember generosity is NOT just about material wealth.
- “Because we were created in the image of a generous God. We were created for generosity to be the regular rhythm of our lives.” (THE WALK, p. 103)
- What is generosity?
- What is the rhythm of your life when it comes to generosity?
- How do you feel about tipping?
- Do you resent being asked to help? (Sometimes we ask the same people over and over and we wear people out and then miss giving others the opportunity to help.)
- Do you look forward to having opportunities to give?
- Do you step forward easily when people are in need?
Optional Exercises If Time
OPTIONAL EXERCISE IF TIME
- In what ministries of generosity have you participated?
- What was the experience like?
- When have you been the recipient of generosity?
- What ministries of generosity would you like to continue or begin going forward?
The Challenges for this week:
How can the practice of Generosity Bring us joy as individuals and as a community?
- Continue daily prayer (1), study (2), & service (3).
- Commit to 5 acts of generosity this month.
- How can group be generous? Read Chapter 5
Would someone volunteer either to read the prayer at the end of the book on page , or pray in their own words?
*Insight from Hiel: we need to let people know that helping people helps us as much as it does them.
Please pray for the following:
Barry Brodil, ski accident
Phyllis Porter’s birthday is Friday
Scott Dakota, Lyme disease cure
Service on Sunday will be online