Ruth and Parables: Small Group Leaders Guide Week 10

Small Group Study / Produced by Individual TOW Project member
Discussion group

This content is part of the Ruth and Parables curriculum, an 11-week integrated sermon and small group series on faith and work.

Read Ruth 4:2-11

Topic 1 – The world and all the people in it start off good.

Question set 1

  1. Is it really true that everyone starts off good? Aren’t there some people who are just evil from the start? Or at least they’ve become so destructive at work that they’re toxic? (Bonus question for the theologically inclined: What about original sin and/or utter depravity?)
  2. Is it true that there’s something good about every workplace? Aren’t some workplaces so bad that the only moral thing to do is get out or, better yet maybe, get them shut down?
  3. What good do you see underneath the brokenness in your workplace?

Topic 2 – The world breaks everyone

“The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (p.226, Scribner Classics edition)

Question set 2

  1. From a workplace point of view, is it really true that everyone is broken? Some people are excellent performers, great team players, responsible and trustworthy, and a joy to be around. Other people are a royal
  2. If redemption means getting a second chance after screwing up, is a good idea to try to redeem everyone in every workplace? Maybe some people should lose their jobs because of messing up. What about accountability, performance, working with excellence? If everyone is spending all their time coaching under-performers and allowing shoddy work or poor customer service to continue while those who do a poor job get redeemed, how will people get any work done?
  3. What brokenness in your workplace causes the most problems?

Topic 3 – God is always working to redeem what’s broken

Read Matthew 13:44-46

Question set 3

  1. What redemption do you need at work? Is it like a buried treasure you’d give up everything to receive, or just something that would be nice to have? How important is it to you to be a redeemer for others where you work? Is it like finding a pearl of great value, or something interesting you’d be open to once everything is humming along at work and you have some available time?
  2. Will’s sermon talked about fixing transmissions late, re-upholstering furniture, cost-cutting analysis, getting hired for a high-paying job, etc. Is this what “redemption” means? Really—fixing furniture is equivalent to saving souls? Is there a danger here of elevating middle-class job security into the ultimate spiritual reality?
  3. Whom or what, exactly, might you be able to help redeem at your workplace? What investments would it take in terms of time, space and resources? What risks would you have to take? Would it be worth it?