Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2018
Texts: Luke 16:10, Leviticus 27:30, Genesis 22:1-12, Hebrews 12:2, Luke 11:40-46, Hebrews 7:2-10, Nehemiah 13
The idea grew out of a statement made by her 6-year-old daughter that “telling the truth made her feel ‘gold in her brain.’ ” Wondering if being more honest would do the same for her, she began the honesty journal.
A few months ago, Judi Ketteler, copywriter and corporate storyteller, wrote about keeping an honesty journal.1 The heart of her message is being honest; being a person who has integrity in every aspect of life. It’s an attribute valued in our culture, but unfortunately not always followed. How can we value the truth, but then be dishonest in our dealings? Too often, what we say and what we do fail to match.
Questions asked by Ketteler’s children that she had previously answered differently, were now answered honestly. She had to admit that the cat didn’t really just go to sleep, but her daughter seemed fine with the truthful explanation, not even listening until the end of the conversation. Her son didn’t know about the journal, but after a few weeks he began to open up to her differently. Ketteler writes, “Even though honesty felt like a struggle, I started to like how it felt.”1 Being honest doesn’t come naturally for us. It takes effort.
In our Sabbath School lesson this week, we study about honesty and integrity. God not only asks us to live by those principles but to demonstrate them in the way we deal with finances. Stories from this week’s texts show how much God asks people to tithe. Ten percent is tithe and goes back to God. Returning tithe shows trust in believing what God asks and promises, and it does even more. Returning tithe provides an opportunity for us to be honest in the amount given, and perhaps to err on the side of being more generous than of being miserly.
As is always the case, in growing to be what God is leading us to be, one aspect is not the only important thing. Tithing is important. It leads us to be more generous and less self-centered. In Luke 11:42, Jesus says that even though people are tithing, there is something more important. What could be more important? Looking back to verse 40, we find Jesus mentioning cleansing “the inside by giving gifts to the poor.” Then in verse 46, the hearers are told they “crush people with unbearable religious demands. . . and never lift a finger to ease the burden” (NLT).
Integrity and honesty grow and develop through generosity in finances and in concern and care for others.
~ For Reflection
Connecting: Have a large basket or bowl for responses. Give group members a 3x5-inch card and ask them to write what would happen in a perfect world if everyone were honest. Collect the cards in a large basket or bowl and share the responses with the group.
Sharing: Read Luke 16:10. Is it necessary to be honest in all areas of one’s life or only in the larger, more important areas?
1. Little lies really don’t matter; only the intention matters.
2. We must be totally honest in every interaction, even when the truth hurts (i.e., Do you like my new out fit?).
3. Honesty is the way one lives. It has to be present in everything.
4. Truthfulness and honesty change with the situation and the times.
5. Honesty is difficult to define. Sometimes it’s more important than other characteristics.
Applying: Look at the nancial needs of your church. What could your group accomplish with some shared resources, volunteer work, and involvement from community members?
Valuing: Prayerfully read Hebrews 12:2. Ask God to show you how you can keep your eyes focused. Ask what things in your life need to change for this to happen.
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