Introduction: Being a parent is sometimes wonderful, sometimes
terrible, and always educational! In our quest to determine how we
should relate to the “least of these,” we have discussed conflicting
points of view. How can you know what is the right view, the view God
endorses? This week we find one simple guide – what have you learned
as a parent? What have you learned as a child? Let’s dive into our
study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Healthy Eyes

    1. Read Matthew 6:22-23. Is this medical advice? Is this
      spiritual advice? What kind of advice is it?

    2. Read Matthew 6:24. Why is Jesus talking about money right
      after He speaks about vision? (This section of Jesus’ talk
      is about our attitude toward money. Jesus seems to say
      that if we have the correct view of money our body will be
      “full of light.” If we have the wrong view, it will be
      “full of darkness.”)

    3. Read Matthew 6:25-26. Is this counsel about money? (Yes!
      Jesus tells us not to be anxious about it.)

    4. Read Matthew 6:27. Do you worry about money? (Jesus
      teaches us that worry does not do any good.)

      1. Does that mean we should do nothing to prepare for
        the future?

      2. When Jesus previously spoke about serving two
        masters, did that have something to do with being
        anxious about money? (Some believe that you cannot
        serve God and at the same time have a lot of money. I
        don’t think that is the point Jesus is making. He is
        talking about the focus of your life. You can be
        focused on money at any income level. That is why
        Jesus tells us not to be anxious about money.)

    5. Read Matthew 6:28-30. What causes our anxiety about money
      and possessions? (A lack of faith.)

    6. Read Matthew 6:31-33. What does God tell us is the
      solution to worrying about money? (Seeking first the
      Kingdom of God and His righteousness.)

      1. If we seek God’s kingdom first, what will happen?
        (Verse 32 says that God knows we need the things that
        the “pagans run after.” Verse 33 says that “all these
        things will be given to you as well.” Taken
        literally, Jesus teaches that God will give us all
        the things the Gentiles pursue – and we don’t have to
        worry about it.)

      2. What does this say about the “least of these?” Are
        they not putting the Kingdom of God and righteousness
        first? (Remember that the warning is to any income

    7. Read Matthew 6:34. Consider two situations. I have a
      friend who grew up in one of the worst sections of New
      York City. She was very poor, the apartment where she
      lived had trash in the lower floor, and trash in the empty
      lot next door. Rats lived in the trash. She now lives in
      a 7,000+ square foot home on the side of a hill
      overlooking a golf course. She reports that she had a
      happy childhood, and at the time she did not think she was
      poor! My parents were not poor, but growing up it seemed
      to me there was a lot of anxiety over money – much of it
      having to do with paying for me to attend church school!
      Is the idea of the “least of these,” more a matter of
      attitude? Is trust in God the main answer? (If you are
      starving, or need medical attention, or don’t have proper
      clothing, these are obviously not issues about attitude.
      In the Western world, it seems much of the “least of
      these,” is about attitude – and that is the reason Jesus
      addresses the issue. The same seems to be true about the
      world described in the Bible – we rarely read in the Bible
      about people who are starving.)

  2. Healthy Actions

    1. Read Matthew 7:7-8. Are there any limits to this promise?

    2. Read Matthew 7:9-10. How does this tend to answer the
      question I just asked? (It suggests that if we were in
      charge, we would use love and common sense in giving
      gifts. That tells me that God does have limits to His
      promise to give to those who ask. The limit is that He
      does what is good for us.)

    3. Read Matthew 7:11. Why does Jesus bring us into the
      picture of making judgments about what should be given?
      (He wants to make this easy to understand. If we would not
      do something as a loving parent, then He would not do it
      as our Father in heaven.)

    4. Read Matthew 7:12. Does this simplify how we apply the
      idea of mercy? (God entrusts much to our judgment.)

      1. Is this related to what we just read about how God
        treats us as a loving parent? (If you have a normal,
        loving view of life and those around you, then you
        have great insight into what should be done for “the
        least of these.”)

    5. How many of you have at least one child who is messy?

      1. If you were the messy child, would you want someone
        to clean your room for you?

      2. If you were the parent, would it be best to clean the
        room for your messy child? (Your attitude about what
        is best for that child should also inform your
        attitude about whether, as a child, you want your
        room cleaned by someone else.)

    6. Now consider the hard questions. Are there “messy”
      countries? Are there some individuals who need to clean up
      their lives?

      1. Let’s drill down on this. Assume a “messy” person
        who was diagnosed with diabetes at a young age and
        never did anything about it. That person eats
        whatever he pleases. What is your obligation to that
        person when his health fails?

      2. Assume that the messy health issue is reversible. Is
        your obligation any different? (If the damage is
        done, and cannot be undone, then I believe that we
        have a greater obligation to help. None of us is

    7. Read Matthew 7:13-14. Why does Jesus say this immediately
      after He gives the “Golden Rule?”

      1. Is it because it is so difficult to figure out who we
        should help?

      2. Is it because there are so few who want to follow the
        Golden Rule?

      3. Should the Golden Rule and the Narrow Gate statements
        be unhooked? Are they related?

      4. If the two are related, the Golden Rule is about
        doing things and the Narrow Gate is about salvation.
        Is salvation about doing things? (That is what this
        seems to say. But, consider that our entire
        discussion so far has been about attitude. What
        attitude should we have about money and worry? What
        attitude should we have about helping? I used to
        talk about “righteousness by attitude,” and by that I
        mean that salvation is not about mere words, or
        deeds. It is about our attitude towards Jesus.)

    8. Read Isaiah 58:1. What are we going to learn about? (Sin!)

    9. Read Isaiah 58:2. How do these people feel about drawing
      near to God? How do they feel about learning God’s will?
      (They delight in both. They have a good attitude – or so
      it seems.)

    10. Read Isaiah 58:3. How does this suggest that God reacts to
      these people? (He is not “seeing” it.)

      1. What is the problem? (For one thing, they oppress all
        their workers.)

    11. Read Isaiah 58:4. What else is wrong? (They quarrel and
      fight, including physical fights.)

    12. Read Isaiah 58:6-7. What kind of fast does God ask of us?
      (God says that instead of focusing on a physical fast, you
      should consider a spiritual fast. Fasting is denying self.
      An attitude of justice, freedom, kindness and mercy is a
      spiritual fast.)

    13. Right now, Los Angeles and San Francisco have a huge
      homeless problem. Would the problem be solved if every
      homeowner invited the homeless living in a tent outside
      their home to come live with them? (This is where your
      education as a parent gives you wisdom.)

    14. Read Isaiah 58:8 and Isaiah 58:11. Compare what you fear
      would happen if you showed mercy with what God says will

    15. Friend, why not ask the Holy Spirit to give you
      discernment in showing justice and mercy to those around

  3. Next week: A Community of Servants.