SUCCEEDING IN TWO ECONOMIES
Across the globe, money, position, and power are the currencies and driving forces that bring success and rewards. Those things are not bad in and of themselves, but we often fail to realize that there’s a Greater Economy that governs us, and it’s important to be conscious of how we use the world’s economy to gain the Greatest Reward. How do we live for heavenly rewards and not just earthly rewards?
Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
1. What is the greatest reward you have ever personally earned, won, or been given? How did receiving it make you feel?
2. Governments and economic systems come and go, rise and fall. There’s a New Kingdom on the horizon that is eternal and superior to anything we can imagine. Why do you think so many people prefer the temporary rewards of this world to the permanent rewards of the next?
3. Read 1 Corinthians 3:9-15. In this life we’ll never know the extent of the work we’ve done to build upon the foundation Jesus laid for us, but how do you feel about your efforts up to this point to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven?”
4. We’re encouraged not to be “bumper sticker Christians,” reducing God’s Word to pithy slogans. Are there any Christian slogans – or even Bible verses – that have become mere words you repeat from memory but have forgotten how to live out? If so, what are they? How could you restore meaning to these?
5. Read Matthew 16:26-27 and Matthew 6:1-4. How do we balance the very human desire to be rewarded for our work on earth with Jesus’ command to practice humility in how we go about earning those rewards?
6. The book Imagine Heaven gives people a glimpse into what awaits us in eternity. Thinking through some of the stories shared through near death experiences, what do you find to be the most compelling or hard to accept element of our future existence in God’s eternal Kingdom?
7. What are some ways that you can succeed in both the world’s and God’s economies in the weeks ahead? What opportunities can you make to exercise your gifts, skills, talents, and passions in order to be a difference-maker for both people and God?
1 Corinthians 3:9-15 – For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
Matthew 16:26-27 – What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
Matthew 6:1-4 – “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
To dig deeper into the topics of this week’s message, check out the “Ministry” outcome on Gateway’s Spiritual Growth Path.
Here’s an excerpt: Knowing one’s spiritual gifts is a starting place. We must know the gifts God has given us, the way his Spirit has empowered us, so we can maximize our efforts by leaning into God’s strength and power…. [T]he follower of Christ must be thoughtful and prayerful about their optimal place of impact….The authentic follower of Christ will take joy in focus and will make the most of the opportunity God has given to make a lasting and critical difference in the lives of others.
To complete the outcome in its entirety, visit gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/ministry
Also check out John Burke’s book, Imagine Heaven, for more on heaven and eternity.
SPIRITUAL OUTCOMES— gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/ministry