A Wise Manager
Lets Get Started
Before you get started, designate someone to lead for the day. The leader is responsible for reading any text or instructions (or assigning people to read).
Consider the following scenario:
You are planning a very big project that will begin in a few years. The project is going to have incredible impact on your community, and you are excited to get started. But it will also take some significant upfront investment. You have saved $30,000 and set it aside for the project, but you know it will cost much more than that. Knowing that you have a few years before the project begins, you decide to invest the $30,000 for the time-being.
Being a wise manager, you decide to diversify your savings into three different investments to limit your risk. After considering how long you have to invest, how much your project will cost, and how much risk you can tolerate, you open three separate investment accounts: $15,000 into the first, $10,000 into the second, and $5,000 into the third.
After the first year, you check on the progress of your investments to see how you are doing. The first investment has grown by 50%, now worth $22,500. The second has done the same, now worth $15,000. The third has barely moved at all, still worth the same $5,000 that it started with.
Discuss as a group. You have two years left before the big project. What would you do with your investments at this point?
Throughout the SPRINT program, we talk a lot about being a manager. Another good word for manager is steward, although “being a good steward” is an often overused phrase in the church and has lost much of it’s meaning. Jesus talks about the manager concept a number of times. Let’s look at an example from Matthew 25:14-30 (ESV).
Have someone read the passage out loud. Then, allow 1-2 minutes for everyone to reflect silently on what stood out most to them. Then share your thoughts as a group.
Matthew 25:14-30 (ESV)
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.
Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.
So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
Take 1-2 minutes to reflect silently. Don’t share your thoughts yet.
To provide some brief context, the master in this parable is an extremely wealthy man. A talent is a measurement of gold, roughly worth 20 years wages. In today’s dollars, a talent would be worth about 1.4 million dollars. It is also generally accepted that the servants were well known to the master, rather than strangers, and therefore should have generally had his best interests in mind.
Discuss as a group. What do you think Jesus is trying to explain about the relationship between us, God, and wealth?
Discuss as a group. Why do you think some servants start with more and some start with less?
Discuss as a group. What do you think we are supposed to do from here? What actions is Jesus trying to get us to take?
As you might now be realizing, we are the investments in this parable. And like the servants, we will one day give an account for what we did with money and possessions that did not belong to us. As you continue through the remainder of the program, remember this concept: We will give an account for how we manage God’s wealth.
That's All for Now
If your group is covering additional modules today, you can move on to the next module now. If you are finished for the day, take a few minutes to pray as a group.
See how your spending compares to the rest of the country and explore choosing a finish line.
Explore the biblical foundation for setting a finish line in a small group context over 8 weekly sessions.
Check out the finish line forum to read about others' experience and to find encouraging stories.