Session 5 Leader’s Guide

Lent 2021 | First United Methodist Church of Rockwall

Serving God, Saving the Planet: A Call to Care for Creation and Your Soul 

Session 5— “Do No Harm”

Opening Prayer(5 min)

Review Sessions 4 (5 min): Last week, we discussed how it is not our possessions or our homes that will keep us out of heaven, but our unwillingness to set them aside in the service of our Lord. This includes the ways we consume food, television, and other things. 

Scripture (read in video): Luke 16:19-26 (Lazarus and the Rich Man)

Video(10 min)

Chapter Review Questions (5 min) 

1. In preparation for today, we had three assigned chapters — (13) Power and Light; (14) First, Do No Harm; and (15) Population Fallout. Of those chapters, which was the most encouraging for you? 

2. Of those same three chapters, which was the most challenging for you? 

Breakout Room Discussion (25 min):

1. In the video for this week, Pastor Larry discusses how we can cause harm by our inactions as much as our actions. Have you seen examples where somebody’s refusal to act led to harm for someone else? 

2. Jesus alludes to this idea of harm by inaction in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Even though the rich man didn’t directly harm Lazarus, his refusal to help Lazarus made his situation all the worse, and God judged him accordingly. How do you imagine the rich man might have helped Lazarus? 

3. One surprising detail of this parable is that the rich man knows Lazarus by name. He is intimately familiar with Lazarus’s situation of need. Who might be a “Lazarus” in your life that God is calling you to help? 

4. According to Matthew Sleeth, one of the biggest areas in which we see our inaction causing harm might be in the area of health care, specifically around death. The average American spends up to $120,000 in the last twelve months of life, more than three times what the average Mexican spends on healthcare in an entire lifetime. This suggests we could better use our resources to help others rather than clinging to one more year of life. Why do you think most of us spend so much money just for one more year of life? 

5. Sleeth argues that one possible reason we spend so much money on healthcare toward the end of life is because we let “the system” make decisions for us. This often happens because we haven’t thought about our own wishes around death. So how would you like to spend your last days on earth? 

6. One of the best ways to make sure “the system” doesn’t make decisions about your death for you is to discuss your preferences with your family. How can you begin to broach this conversation with your family? 

7. Jesus tells us that to receive life abundantly through him we must stop clinging to this life. Practically speaking, what might it look like to cling to Jesus more than to this earthly existence? 

8. On page 172, Sleeth says, “The end of one’s life should reflect the same values of charity, thoughtfulness, and universal brotherhood as any other phase of life.” What would it look like for you to reflect these values not just in your living, but also in your dying? How can you reflect those values in your will? 

Closing Prayer Requests,  Closing Prayer (10 min)