Two lessons adapted from
The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
You can’t take it with you—but you can send it on ahead.
§ KEY 1: God owns everything. I’m His money manager. We are the managers of the assets God has entrusted—not given—to us.
§ KEY 2: My heart always goes where I put God’s money. Watch what will happen when you reallocate your money from temporal things to eternal things.
§ KEY 3: Heaven, not earth, is my home. We are citizens of “a better country—a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16).
§ KEY 4: I should live not for the dot but for the line. From the dot—our present life on earth—extends a line that goes on forever, which is eternity in Heaven.
§ KEY 5: Giving is the only antidote to materialism. Giving is a joyful surrender to a greater person and a greater agenda. It dethrones me and exalts Him.
§ KEY 6: God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving. God gives us more money than we need so we can give—generously.
----- Lesson One -----
You can’t take it with you—but you can send it on ahead.
1. Read, describe, and discuss and the theme verse for these lessons. (Stay focused on the central point of the parable.)
Matthew 13:44: “Parable of the Hidden Treasure”
“…it certainly envisions the joy of finding great and eternal treasure that far surpasses the costs to obtain it.” ----The Treasure Principle, p. 8
2. Read Matthew 6:19-20 and discuss how this Jim Elliot quote relates.
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” ---Jim Elliot (missionary and martyr)
3. Read or refer to these passages and answer the question.
- Luke 3.10-14; 19:8; What was the evidence of transformation in these passages?
- Luke 12:16-20; Matthew 19:20-24; What was the evidence of no transformation in these passages?
Discussion question: Why did Jesus put such an emphasis on money and possessions?
4. Read the Matthew 6:19-21 again (Psalms 49:16-17; Proverbs 23:5). What is the reason for storing treasure in heaven emphasized in these verses?
5. Read the 1 Timothy6:17-19. What is the reason for storing treasure in heaven emphasized in these verses?
Discussion question: In what sense are our earthly possessions like Confederate currency? --The Treasure Principle, p. 13-14
Something to think about: John D. Rockefeller was one of the wealthiest men who ever lived. After he died someone asked his accountant, “How much money did John D. leave?” The reply was classic: “He left… all of it.” --The Treasure Principle, p. 17-18
6. Jesus uses the Parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1-13) to illustrate the principle of sending our wealth ahead (Alcorn’s discussion on pages 40-41 is helpful.).
§ How many of his master’s accounts did he use to prepare for the future?
§ Since Jesus did not commend his dishonesty, what was he commended for?
§ According to the parable, what is the purpose of our “unrighteous mammon?”
Something to think about: How does my response to this teaching compare with those in Luke 16:14-15?
Discussion question: Compare 1) the amount invested, 2) the change in wealth, and 3) the emotional state after the decision between the man in Matthew 13:44 and the ruler in Matthew 19:16-26. How is my attitude about money affecting me?
KEY 1: God owns everything. I’m His money manager.
à We are the managers of the assets God has entrusted—not given—to us. (1 Corinthians 4:2)
7. Look up the verses and tell / discuss the attitudes of these Bible characters toward material wealth.
§ When the Lord reveals his omnipotence to Job, what does he say about money? (Job 41.11)
§ What did Moses command Israel to remember? (De 8.17-18)
§ What did David’s prayer reveal about his attitude toward his riches? (1 Chronicles 29:11-15)
§ Who did Paul belong to? (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) How did this knowledge affect the Corinthians? (2 Corinthians 8:2-5)
Discussion question: Can you share about a reminder you have had about God’s ownership as it relates to your possessions?
8. If God is the owner, what is our role? (Refer to Matthew 25:14-30’s Parable of the Talents and to Key #1)
9. When we think like owners, it’s a red flag. We should be thinking like stewards or investment managers who are preparing for an evaluation. (Read 1 Corinthians 4:2 and Romans 14:12 and discuss.)
Something to think about: Our name is on God’s accounts. A steward carries no sense of entitlement to the assets he manages. We draw funds from His wealth to pay our living expenses. Think about how you make decisions about money and possessions. Do you think and act like an owner or steward?
Discussion question: What are strategies for changing your mindset from ownership to stewardship?
----- Lesson Two -----
adapted from The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
KEY 2: My heart always goes where I put God’s money.
à Watch what will happen when you reallocate your money from temporal things to eternal things. (Colossians 3:1-2)
1. What does “to your account” refer to in Philippians 4:17? What does this show us about Paul’s thinking about giving to ministry?
2. How should Proverbs 19:17 and Luke 14:13-14 affect our perspective on giving?
3. According to Matthew 6:21, how can we tell where our heart is?
Something to think about: “Show me your checkbook, your VISA statement, and your receipts, and I’ll show you where your heart it.” The Treasure Principle, p.44 The old saying that may fit here is, “Your actions are screaming so loud, I can’t hear what you are saying.” Does your checkbook give credibility to your confession?
Something to think about:
John Wesley toured a vast estate with a proud plantation owner. They rode their horses for hours and saw only a fraction of the man’s property. At the end of the day they sat down to dinner. The plantation owner eagerly asked, “Well, Mr. Wesley, what do you think?”
Wesley replied, “I think you’re going to have a hard time leaving all this.” -- The Treasure Principle, p.42
Relate Philippians 1:21-22 to this incident. Will our death be gain or loss? What was Paul’s purpose for continuing to live?
4. How does Colossians 3:1-2 relate to the management of our money and possessions?
5. According to Hebrews 11:24-26, what motivated Moses’ in his decisions about his possessions?
KEY 3: Heaven, not earth, is my home.
à We are citizens of “a better country—a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16).
Discussion question: How can you tell someone is a citizen of a country (especially when they are not in that country)?
cit·i·zen·ship [sit-uh-zuhn-ship, -suhn-]
1. the state of being vested with the rights, privileges, and duties of a citizen.
2. the character of an individual viewed as a member of society; behavior in terms of the duties, obligations, and functions of a citizen: an award for good citizenship.
"citizenship." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 07 Oct. 2010.
6. Discuss what Hebrews 11:13-16 says about why Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not set down roots in this world.
7. 1 Peter 1:3-5 describes the inheritance that pilgrims (vrs.1) would look forward to.
Something to think about: Contrast the use of the word “strangers” (aliens or foreigners is some versions) in Hebrews 11:13 and Ephesians 2:19? Where are you more of a stranger?
KEY 4: I should live not for the dot but for the line.
à From the dot—our present life on earth—extends a line that goes on forever, which is eternity in Heaven. (Luke 12:15)
8. How does James 1:9-11 describe our time on earth? (Compare with Psalm 103.13-18 and Isaiah 40:6-8.)
Something to think about: Each of us will eventually part with our money and possessions. The question is when and under what circumstances (Leave it behind, or send it ahead.). Discuss Solomon’s frustration (described in Ecclesiastes 2:18-20) about the possessions he would leave behind.
11. Ever see the bumper sticker, “He who dies with the most toys wins?” Read Jesus’ parable in Luke 12:15-21. What do verses 15 and 21 teach us about the wise attitude toward our possessions on earth? What does it mean to be rich toward God?
12. Read 1 Peter 1:3-5. Discuss how 2 Peter 3:11-14 says this should affect our attitudes about possessions on earth and eternity.
Something to think about: Have you ever played one of those games where the winner is the one who runs out of cards first and at the end of the game, every card left counts against you. What does your hand of possessions look like now?
KEY 5: Giving is the only antidote to materialism.
à Giving is a joyful surrender to a greater person and a greater agenda. It dethrones me and exalts Him. (2 Corinthians 8:7)
13. Read 1 Timothy 6:9-10 and discuss why or how the desire to be rich will cause us to stray from the faith.
14. What does Proverbs 30:8-9 advise about a good standard of living?
15. Discuss what these Scriptures teach us about giving.
§ Malachi 3:8 -- (The point to make here is not whether a tithe is expected in the New Covenant, but that they did not give what they should have.)
§ Mark 12:41-44 -- they out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty…
§ Acts 20:35 -- It is more blessed to give…
§ 1 Corinthians 16:2 -- each of you…as he may prosper
§ 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (esp. 4) -- imploring us…that we would receive the gift…
§ 2 Corinthians 9:7 -- not grudgingly or of necessity…
KEY 6: God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.
à God gives us more money than we need so we can give—generously. (2 Corinthians 9:11)
16. Discuss why we work? Then consider what Ephesians 4:28 teaches us about the purpose of a believer’s work?
17. According to the Global Rich List (http://www.globalrichlist.com/) if you have an annual income of $47,500, your income is in the top 1% worldwide. What does 1 Timothy 6:17-19 tell us to use our riches for?
Something to think about: Is giving a joy or sacrifice for you? Why?
Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching biblical truth and drawing attention to the needy and how to help them. EPM exists to meet the needs of the unreached, unfed, unborn, uneducated, unreconciled and unsupported people around the world.
"My ministry focus is communicating the strategic importance of using our earthly time, money, possessions and opportunities to invest in need-meeting ministries that count for eternity," Alcorn says. "I do that by trying to analyze, teach and apply the implications of Christian truth."
Before starting EPM in 1990, Alcorn co-pastored for thirteen years Good Shepherd Community Church outside Gresham, Oregon. He has ministered in many countries, including China, and is a popular teacher and conference speaker. Randy has taught on the part-time faculties of Western Seminary and Multnomah University, both in Portland, Oregon.
Randy is a best-selling author of over 30 books including Heaven, The Treasure Principle and the 2002 Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home. He has written numerous articles for magazines such as Discipleship Journal, Moody, Leadership, New Man, and The Christian Reader. He produces the quarterly issues-oriented magazine Eternal Perspectives, and has been a guest on more than 600 radio and television programs including Focus on the Family, Family Life Today, The Bible Answer Man, Revive Our Hearts, Truths that Transform and Faith Under Fire.
Alcorn resides in Gresham, Oregon with his wife, Nanci, and their Dalmatian, Moses. The Alcorns have two married daughters, Karina and Angela.
Randy and Nanci are the proud grandparents of four grandsons: Jacob Gary Stump born August 3, 2004, Matthew James Franklin born November 12, 2004, Tyler Daniel Stump born March 10, 2006, and Jack Timothy Franklin born August 23, 2007.