Friday, September 29, 2006

Awesome Discussion

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We just had an awesome time of discussing materialism in our Bible Study time. It was such a blessing. Lots of good questions. Even more heart-felt searching. We talked about where our attitudes about money came from. We discussed how we can instill in our children proper attitudes towards stuff. We prayed for our children as they live in a peer-pressured society to be able to have appropriate appreciation for what they have and God-centered desires. We discussed the heart of why we are to not seek more:
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" Hebrews 13:5

This quote will be the perfect bridge into next week's discussion on security. So much of our pursuit of stuff is out of insecurity. But God has commanded us to be content because He is constant in our lives. Amazing!

We spent a significant amount of time discussing how to be with friends who are at different places than us regarding acquiring things. We all agreed that prayer is the first and foremost response. One of the ladies said that she had recently dealt with an issue of whether to say something to a friend about a sin issue in the friend's life. Overwhelmingly she has been reminded that she needs to pray. "If I'm willing to say something to her, shouldn't I also be willing to spend an hour on my knees praying for her?" What a question. I'm not sure I am always willing to spend the imploring time on my knees. And if I'm not willing to do that, I should not be speaking "for" God. But we also all agreed that sometimes the Holy Spirit so clearly leads us to be "Nathan's" to a friend's "David" and speak boldly and responsibly about behavior. In those cases, we must be willing to face that if the friend is not willing to hear, the friendship may be strained or end until they are able to hear what was said. Courageous friendship.

We also spent a significant amount of time discussing how we may impose on others in our generosity. Thank you for your comments on that, I thought I might be out there in left field, but from comments and responses today, I don't think I'm alone out there. In offering to give to others sometimes it is just that, generosity, and there is nothing wrong with that. But, sometimes, it is perpetuating a lifestyle choice that says to others "this is the way you should live, where you should go, where you should eat, how you should celebrate, etc." Those lifestyle choice may be right for me, but if I set it up as the expectation and I'm "giving" it to others I may take away their ability to joyfully reciprocate in their own way. It is subtle. And it may not be the case in all offers of sharing. But I think God is telling me to be careful what messages I'm sending unintentionally. Why does this walking a Holy Life have to be filled with so many subtleties?

Finally the discussion turned to how do we make this work in marriages, when two people come with differing opinions about money and saving and possessions. We spent time praying for our husbands as they provide for our families (everyone present was a SAHM) and for ourselves to be supportive as they lead our families. It was a sweet time. I'm looking forward to future discussions in this vein.

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