“If, then, you have not been faithful in handling worldly wealth, how can you be trusted with true wealth?”
— Luke 16:11 (GNT)
Before attending the first class:
1. What was the most helpful information you learned from reading "Your Money Counts"?
2. What are two practical principles from the book you can apply now?
3. Based on this passage, do you think God’s way of handling money will differ from how most people handle it? What do you think will be the greatest differences?
4. What benefits do you hope to receive from participating in this study?
5. What are your personal goals concerning your:
Getting out of debt
Read or listen to the Introduction Notes and answer:
6. What information especially interested you? Why?
7. How did learning the three reasons the Bible says so much about money challenge your thinking?
This study will transform your life and finances as you learn what the God of the universe says about handling money. This study is for everyone — single or married, young or old, whether you earn a lot or a little.
The way most people handle money stands in sharp contrast to God’s financial principles. Isaiah 55:8 puts it like this: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.” The most significant difference between the two is that the Bible reveals God is closely involved with our finances. Many people fail to realize this because God has chosen to be invisible to us and to operate in the unseen supernatural realm.
It may surprise you to learn how much Scripture has to say about finances. More than 2,500 verses address God’s way of handling money and possessions. What’s more, 15 percent of everything Jesus Christ said, has to do with money — how we view it and how we handle it. Jesus made such a major point of teaching these things for three reasons:
1. How we handle money impacts our relationship with the Lord
We may think we can separate our spiritual lives and our financial lives into two different compartments. Not so! Over and over Jesus equates how we handle our money with the quality of our spiritual life. In Luke 16:11 (GNT), He says, “If, then, you have not been faithful in handling worldly wealth, how can you be trusted with true wealth?” The true riches in life grow out of a close relationship with the Lord.
Fr. Tim Thompson said it this way in an open letter to his parishioners in Denton, TX, “You may love God, enjoy church, pray, read the Scriptures and all the rest but unless you are living according to God’s will with your pocketbook, you cannot serve him. If you live a materialistic life, you cannot be spiritual.”
It’s a simple fact: If we handle money according to the principles of Scripture, we will enjoy a closer relationship with Christ. The Parable of the Talents demonstrates this, as the master congratulates the servant who managed his money faithfully: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.” (Matthew 25:21, emphasis added) We can enter into the joy of a more intimate relationship with the Lord as we handle money his way.
2. Money and possessions compete with God for first place in our lives
We may never say it in so many words, but money is often a primary competitor with Christ for our affection. Jesus tells us we must choose to serve only one of these two masters. “You cannot be a slave of two masters; you will hate one and love the other; you will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24, GNT) We use money, yes, but it is impossible for us to serve money and still serve and love the Lord.
During the Crusades of the 12th Century, the Crusaders hired mercenaries to fight for them. Because it was a religious war, the mercenaries were baptized before fighting. Before going under the water, however, the soldiers would take their swords and hold them up out of the water to symbolize that Jesus Christ was not in control of their weapons. They claimed freedom to use their weapons in any way they wished.
Unfortunately, this illustrates the way many people today handle their money as they hold their wallet or purse “out of the water.” Their attitude is, “God, you may be Lord of my entire life — except in the area of money — I’m perfectly capable of handling that myself.”
The Beatitudes teach us to seek God above all else for it is through God that we will find the true happiness we so desperately crave. All too often we fall victim to the advertising that urges that ultimate happiness will be found in our next purchase. It will make us sexy, powerful and better than those around us. As we seek to feel better about ourselves, we are led down a path that leads us further and further away from the truths of the Beatitudes. (Cf. CCC 1723)
3. God wants us to be money smart
The Lord also talked so much about money because he knew that from time to time money problems would be a challenge for all of us. Stress and confusion in this area of life can impact our marriage, our family life, our happiness, and even our health. God loves and cares for us so deeply, he wants to equip us to make the wisest possible financial decisions.
Years ago Evelyn and I participated in a Bible study similar to this one and found there are more than 2,500 verses in the Bible that deal with money and possessions. It is amazing how practical these verses are and how they can apply to our daily lives — 2,000 years later! There is an important pattern to these verses and a division of responsibilities in the handling of money.
Simply put, God has a role, and we have a role. As you progress through this study, you may be surprised to learn which responsibilities are God’s, and which are yours.
As you begin this journey of learning God’s perspectives on money, debt, budgets and life, work hard to apply every principle to your daily life. You’ll be continually amazed at how God will bless your hard work and faith.
You will also discover that learning and applying God’s financial principles is a marathon, rather than a sprint. In fact, gaining wisdom is a lifelong journey. When we learn God’s responsibilities and our own, we will experience contentment, hope, confidence and peace about our financial future. Let the journey begin!
We have developed the map to help you on your journey to financial freedom and faithfulness. The map enables you to identify where you are, where you want to be, and your next step to take for financial progress, using God’s word and the teachings of the Catholic Church as your compass that always point in the right and true direction.
The Compass website is a dynamic site created to accompany this study. It contains online tools, videos, financial calculators and answers to frequently asked questions.
The Compass Catholic website is also designed to help you explore your Catholic faith in a deeper way. There are suggestions for Catholic websites to visit and resources that extend all the way to the Vatican. As you go through this study, use it as a springboard to follow the path of faith and conversion; the resolution of spirit that points to a new set of thoughts, values and relationships; the dynamic way of being a Catholic. Respond to what you are learning by becoming a true Catholic and living out your faith, instead of following the ways of society.
A true faith response will allow you to:
+ Reevaluate your attitude toward money.
+ Understand God’s part in your finances.
+ Become open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
+ Use the Bible as a source of counsel and wisdom.
We pray you use this opportunity not only for a change in the way you handle money, but for a true conversion of heart and mind as well.
Each week there will be a Bible verse for you to memorize as part of your homework. These verses can be downloaded and printed out for your convenience to use throughout each week.
Memory Verses in text file
Memory Verses in audio files
Please write your prayer requests in your prayer log before coming to class.