Small Group Notes

Small Group notes for 15th March

Gifted | Faithful Stewards

1 Peter 4:7-11          Matthew 19:23-30                    

Our western culture tends to equate money with love and happiness, but whilst love and happiness might go together, money won’t buy you love nor will money necessarily make you happy. Do you agree? Does money create a (false) dependence? Might materialism be a factor in society’s apparent lack of need of, belief in, God?

Peter writes as he does because we are in the end times, so there is an urgency to his message – an urgency for us. Are we urgent in living our lives for God?

Have you noticed how, in 1 Peter 4, Peter writes of Spiritual Gifts – even if not to the extent of Paul in, say, 1 Cor 12 or Romans 12? He lists only two broad categories of ministry: speaking, and serving but these gifts of the spirit are to focus not on ourselves, but on God and on others. Peter would have us look to the Lord for the gifts we need to serve him, and to serve others, in his name. As you discuss spiritual gifts do you think they are given to serve the purpose of God and his church – or for your own purpose, self-fulfilment, your own relationship with God, your standing in the church? Peter’s message is that gifts are given for the service of God and to bring glory to God. 

The Christian is to grow in Christ, in knowledge of God, and in so doing discover more how God’s love can transform your life and the lives of those around you. Isn’t that, after all, what we’re here for? Do we really grasp the enormity of God’s love, the power of his love to transform?

Read Eph 3: 16-19 and reflect on how wide is that love of God, who is love. Turn to 1 Cor 13: 4-8. Read it as written - ‘Love is ….’ Then read it again but substituting ‘Jesus is …..’ Jesus commands us to love as he loves. Now read that passage again substituting ‘I am…..’ etc. Is that easy?

Love covers a multitude of sins. Read the Lord’s Prayer. ‘Forgive us … as we forgive …’ Do we gain our forgiveness by forgiving others? Or is our forgiving the result of our being forgiven? Can our love imitate the mercy of God, can our love forgive?

Serving. Jesus’ portrayed his love, his service, when he washed feet. Might we offer this service to one another on Maundy Thursday? How humbling might that be?

Our lives are brief – and Peter reminds us the end of all things is near. This world won’t last forever. Can we say we use our time well, offering hospitality without grumbling, using the gifts of his Holy Spirit, in the power of the Spirit, for the praise of God through Jesus Christ?

The asset manager’s advert: ‘Love is pointless. Love will not make you much money.’ What might you say to someone who is standing next to you as you read that advert?