This summer, Sue Mills, the InterVarsity Area Director for Arizona, led a series of Bible studies on Luke 13-16 at Bear Trap Ranch, one of InterVarsity’s four training centers. Student response to the study of Luke 16 was overwhelming. Sue will tell the story.
“Leading students in Bible study is one of the joys of being a staff worker. I know that when all is said and done, I want students that I work with to be people of the Word, formed and grown through God’s words to us in the Bible. I love seeing students’ faces as they have an ‘ah-ha’ moment, or watching them struggle with what Jesus calls them to. I love seeing them find answers for their life in the words of God, and seeing them challenged to make their lives line up with what God says in Scripture.
“As students came into the room to study the story in Luke 16, I had them place their wallets in a cardboard box, and write the amount of money they had available in their checking account and in cash on a note card, as an object lesson about how much you can do as a group, as opposed to what you can do by yourself. We studied the passage. We learned that Jesus wants us to use our money shrewdly to help people enter the Kingdom of God. After the Bible study, I tallied up the amount of money available to us. It totaled $26,116.75; quite a bit of money for supposedly poor college students. I told the students to dream about what they could use this money for to further God’s purposes in this world. They came up with all sorts of creative ideas, such as investing the money in charities that help people in poverty stricken countries start small businesses, or standing outside of the parking ticket office on their campus and paying peoples parking tickets, telling them that they were doing this because Jesus paid a debt for them. It was exciting and energizing to think about ‘laundering money’ for God, using the wealth that we have from our worldly jobs to make friends in the kingdom. They got excited about taking their money and turning it into Kingdom currency.
“That night the students heard the parable again as the speaker presented it. The speaker gave a moving talk about how we can use our resources for the good of the Kingdom of God. He mentioned the International Justice Mission, a Christian non-profit organization that frees girls from prostitution through the use of the legal system of the country where the girls are enslaved. The speaker said, ‘It only takes $1,000 to free one of these girls, that’s all.’ The spark from the morning Bible study was suddenly ignited, and it became clear how we could use our money to welcome people into God’s Kingdom. By breakfast the next morning, 100 students had contributed enough money to free four girls from prostitution, and even more had been pledged.”
The students had encountered the Word of God and responded to it. He challenged them to use the bounty they had been given to bring others to Christ, and they did just that in magnificent fashion.