Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – February 19, 2017
Theme: Building Blocks for Godly Living
Topic: Implicit Trust
Text: Matthew 6:19-34
Key Verse: Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)
Last Sunday, we discussed the need for self-examination, whether or not our pious acts come out of “Godly Motives”. Our learning from the study include the following:
- We are often in situations that put pressure on us to be loud and ostentatious in doing good, such as appeals for public pledges of donations towards laudable causes. The Christian needs to ask himself or herself if our positive response to appeals really need to be announced.
- We need to be conscious of the temptation inherent in the unintended applause and recognition we receive for our charitable acts. Those moments bring a secret glee that could be dangerous to our spiritual health if not handed over to God’s Spirit. We must learn to deflect attention from ourselves and give glory to God for the good things He does through us.
- We must be careful to avoid being active in Church activities such as night vigils and declared fasts just because we want to be seen as pious or spiritual.
This Sunday, we will be discussing what it means to have “Implicit Trust” in God. Only an implicit trust in God can make us stay on His side whether things are working well for us or everything seems to be going wrong. Our learning from this study should include the following:
- It is tempting when we prosper materially to trivialise God’s role in our lives and start to see our status as due largely to our efforts. We must remind ourselves of God’s word in Deuteronomy 8:18 that He gives us the ability to acquire wealth.
- There is nothing wrong in a Christian being materially wealthy – God gives us the ability to become wealthy. However, we must be careful not be driven by lack of trust in God into pursuit of wealth way beyond what we need. Acquisitions beyond the basic needs of life are a luxury which we should put at God’s disposal for His service.
- Lack of trust in God for our needs drives many into ungodly acts. Each time we get trapped in unethical acquisitions to meet pressing needs, we express a lack of trust in God to meet those needs.
It is hard to find a wealthy person who would pass over an opportunity to make more wealth. The desire for material acquisition transcends the current wealth status of individuals – both the poor and the rich seek more. Many celebrated personalities who are already known for their wealth still get embroiled in theft of public wealth, and fraud and inequities within their moneymaking empires. In our text, Jesus identifies two unhealthy drivers of wealth acquisition: For the already wealthy (verses 19-24), it is a desire to have more and to revel in the power that wealth commands. To them, Jesus warns that any wealth stored up on earth is easily lost – to economic downturns, natural disasters, fraud, and war. Even if not lost to any of these, such wealth loses relevance when death comes. Critics of the Christian faith often create sensational stories of prominent Christians, especially evangelists and pastors who are visibly very wealthy and who “live it up”. The critics say that Jesus “was poor” and nothing like what these leaders portray. Yes, God says the ability to become wealthy comes from Him: “But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” – Deut 8:18.
1. How do we reconcile God’s statement that He gives us the ability to become wealthy with His admonition to lay up our treasures in heaven and not on earth?
In verses 25-34 of our text, Jesus points out a second reason we pursue acquisition of material wealth – the fear of not being able to afford the basic needs of life. This passage speaks especially to those who indeed struggle to survive. He notes that the fear of not being able to afford what we consider to be life’s basic needs drives us into an unhealthy state of mind and actions. However, He reduces the basic needs of life to food and clothing. Apostle Paul echoes this when he wrote to Timothy: “… if we have food and clothes, that should be enough for us.” (1Tim 6:8 GNB), and says we can trust Him for these. He calls us to let what He does for the birds and the flowers inspire our trust in Him to provide these basic needs for us too. When we worry about these things, we show a lack of trust in God’s ability and/or willingness to provide them. We may, and often do say words to the effect that we trust God, but our body-language and actions may say otherwise.
2. Give examples of practical situations that test our trust in God to provide our needs.
Jesus concludes His message on this subject with the admonition “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mat 6:34). This statement has been interpreted in many ways. A Christian who hated the idea of a Will suggested that having a Will amounts to not trusting God to provide for our dependants when we die. Another Christian with a very modest income believes that if he can raise money somehow for his child’s first year of study overseas, he can trust God to provide money for the remaining four years. Indeed, there have been testimonies of people’s seemingly presumptuous faith eventually working out for them. Such testimonies could encourage other Christians to live without planning for the future.
3. Discuss some guiding principles to demonstrate trust in God for provision of our needs while also planning responsibly for the future.
Prayer: Father, whenever we are under pressure to take our lives in our hands instead of trusting You, remind us of these lessons. Teach us to live responsibly while fully trusting You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.