Close

Open the Floodgates

Open the Floodgates

 

Amos 5:18-24

ICE BREAKER

What’s on your list? This list is not the things you have to buy but the things you dream about buying. 

One example is a truck. Another example is a home office. An office at home with a lot of windows would be nice. Maybe we should get a new home too.

None of these are in themselves a bad thing. 

The prophet Amos wants to help us to see that things on our list are not bad in themselves.The problem is our mindset about things. These things can dominate how we live life.

The concerning mindset occurs when we are out of balance. Our focus can consume us with the “What’s next?” question. God has always warned us to be cautious about always wanting more. 

Take some time to reflect on your “What’s next list?” and ask yourself how much time you spend searching for the item and thinking about the item. Share your reflections with the group.

Consider taking the next 30 days to cease from thinking about the next item you want to buy(the goal is not stopping the thinking, rather that goal here is to become aware of how much you are thinking about it.).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

God wants His people to engage in the 4 Pillars of Justice: 

  1. Equality. Does my giving reflect a self-perception of being equal with others in my church and beyond? Do I see myself as different and then rationalize why I don’t have to give a tithe? Implied in this question is the thought that I am separate from you rather than one with you or equal with you? A follow up question is, “Is my giving humble and open handed?”
  2. Solidarity. Am I involved with others in need, both financially and relationally? The idea here is that the stronger comes to the aid of the weaker. Do I look for people who need me personally and materially? Our deepest need is relational.
  3. Subsidiarity. Does my hospitality and giving reflect care? Is it local first and outward and is it possible/doable? Do I give care to people? Group leaders: consider inviting the group to share how they are currently giving and caring. The vision in this invitation is to celebrate one another and the work of the Spirit that is ongoing within us. 
  4. Liberty. Am I free in Christ from the idol of wealth and leisure? Do I model that freedom to those around me? Or, do I use my wealth and leisure to protect myself and to withdraw. At times with wealth we get further away from people. 

NOTES AND QUOTES

Amos is a farmer. The Lord comes to him and gives him a message. He asks him to go from Judah to Samaria to talk to the king of the northern kingdom.

The Assyrians have weakened and therefore Israel is thriving. They are comfortable and wealthy. They have forgotten God. 

Amos, the prophet, invites them to come back. 

In Amos 2:6 God accuses them. God points out that their commerce is not right–they trample the poor.

In Amos 3:15 God says, “I will strike the winter house along with the summer house, and the house of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall come to an end.“.

In Amos 4:1 God says, “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy…”

Bashan was very fertile–the cattle raised there were fat and they were the best cows. 

Their country was consumed with idolatry and with their wealth. 

They were unaware of the problems of the people around them(it was, “What’s next?” not “Who’s next?” for them. 

Paul writes about this also. In I Cor 11:20-22 “When you come together, it is not the Lords’ supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, and another gets drunk. ….do you despise the church of God and  humiliate those who have nothing?”

God calls us to be unified and together. 

Instead of “What’s next?” Jesus wants us to ask, “Who is next?”

Live in a way with one another that brings justice and life. We don’t want to be separated from one another; we want to be connected and therefore closer to Christ.