There are seven types of story that come up again and again across every time and culture. This term we’ll explore those stories, consider what they tell us about our humanity, and how they help us understand the true story of Jesus.
Today, we’re thinking about Tragedy stories.
Ask for a volunteer to pray a short prayer that however much they’ve come to know Jesus, they’d know him better as a result of your time together.
Ask group members:
This video tells the classic tragedy of Ivan Ilyich, a man who didn’t see the danger he was in, until it was too late.
Tragedy stories aren’t just sad stories. Tragedies are stories where people are destroyed by attitudes or behaviours that they don’t realise are dangerous, until it’s too late.
Ask for a volunteer to read Luke 12:13-21.
This video will help your group grasp the tragedy of the story that Jesus tells.
Jesus discerns that the man is fixated on getting more stuff. More money, more success, more comfort. Then he’ll find life. Jesus knows how dangerous these beliefs are. So, he tells a tragedy.
Draw a stick person on a large piece of paper, then draw a circle around them.
The word ‘greed’ (verse 15) can also be translated as ‘covetousness’. Covetousness is an over-desire to have things which you don’t have. Such desires can become all-consuming.
It’s not wrong to want good things. It’s right to want healthy relationships, academic success, and financial security. The problem is when these good desires become over-desires and we look to earthly things for what can only be found in God. As we make created things our God, damage follows: our relentless pursuit of things can damage our bodies, our relationships, and our minds. Worse – it can blind us to our need for God, the danger of rejecting him, and the beauty of his generous love in the Lord Jesus.
It can be hard to tell the difference between good desire and wrong covetousness at times. This is part of why Jesus warns us to ‘be on our guard’ – these things can be hard to detect. But, God has given us his Holy Spirit to help us better know him and better see ourselves, including our covetousness. And he has promised to continue transforming us as we walk with him (2 Cor 3:18).
To be ‘rich towards God’ is the opposite of ‘storing up things for ourselves.’ It starts by seeing that true life isn’t found in things or possessions, but found in Him. Once we’ve discovered that, there’s no need to cling onto our things for ourselves, we’re free to use them for Him and His priorities instead.
This man looks for security, satisfaction, and life in his possessions. But, as he dies, his possessions are unable to deliver. Tragically, he looks to his possessions for what can only be found in God.
We’re prone to do the same.
Lead the group in a few minutes of silent reflection on this question:
Ask the group if any would like to share their reflections.
Jesus died to save us from the tragedy of giving our lives to things which can’t satisfy or save us. The apostle Peter writes what we receive from him instead:
“In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.”
Spend some time praying, turning from the things you’re tempted to live for and turning again to Him.
Tragedies warn us that we can value the wrong things, to devastating effect. Jesus frees us from the self-obsession of storing up things for ourselves. Instead of clinging tightly to the things in our lives, we can live generously.
Pray that God will use your efforts to bless others and stir curiosity about Jesus.
Thank You – Thank everyone for coming, and ask someone to thank God for your time together in prayer.
Ask – Ask those who are new to reading the Bible if they’d like to explore Uncover, a set of sessions in Mark’s Gospel, allowing them to investigate one of the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life alongside one of you.
Church and CU – What does the CU have planned ahead? And what help would group members value in finding a local church?
Others – Who else could you invite to join your CU Impact Group next week? These friends don’t need to be followers of Jesus and may really appreciate being invited.
See You Soon – Tell the group where and when you’ll meet next week, and arrange who will bring snacks. (You might like to alternate healthy and less healthy weeks!). See if anyone would be up for sharing a meal or just hanging out in the meantime!
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