Monday, November 21, 2011

On 11-27-11 Matthew 6:25-34 will be our Adult Sunday School Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson, herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Facing Life Without Worry aka Don’t Worry About Tomorrow.

Facing Life without Worry
 Don’t Worry About Tomorrow
Matthew 6:25-34
International Sunday School Lesson
November 27, 2011

Jed Greenough

I have a rule that I feel compelled to run this ministry by and that is, “first do no harm.”  I take this role on with a great sense of responsibility and my hope is to serve you the reader.  My goal is to not only help you in your study but to enable you to do the same for those you meet with where you worship.  I guess you could then say that I am an enabler.

So since I have freely admitted that I am an enabler but one who seeks first to do no harm you must realize that I have given this next statement serious thought.  “Shame on those who would question your faith or cause you to question your faith because of today’s passage because you worry.”

You will not get that from me because I have beat myself up over this passage for the precise reason that I myself worry.  It is a part of the fabric of my being and it is with me when I consider writing this lesson, as I consider whether to let my kids drive to town, when I prepare for an exam and when I sleep at night.

I do not revel in it and would rather be like those of you who live a life of no worries but I know that then I wouldn’t be me.  I know that I wouldn’t get up every day at 4:00 to write.  I know that I wouldn’t be as motivated to do well on everything I do.  I know that I would become lax in my study and in my worship.  I know that there would be weeks that the lesson wasn’t posted for you.

I will even go so far as to tell you that worry has in fact drawn me closer to God, so don’t try beating me up about my lack of faith because I worry.  Some of you come along in your faith easily and I am truly happy for you but you forget that not all of us are the same.  Sometimes we must be brought to the brink before we hear God’s call.  Others have an immature inactive faith and must be brought to our knees.  Believe me then when I tell you that worry is a tool that God can in fact use

If we were all perfect we wouldn’t need a large chunk of our Bible that gives us instruction in the ways of righteousness.  We also wouldn’t need the large dose of scripture that provides comfort.  Comfort is what I want you to draw from today’s scripture instead of guilt as some would rather teach.

When the times of trouble come and come they will, draw comfort from the words of Christ found in these verses.  When economic woes threaten and you consider whether you will be able to buy the new shoes for your kids consider these verses.  As the cares and worries of your aging body and mind mount consider these verses.

Christ didn’t say, “If you worry, your faith is insufficient for me and I abandon you.”  No, He said, “Don’t worry” and He goes on to explain that you have a Father who knows what you need so in the meantime seek His kingdom and His righteousness.

It might be that the insurance will lapse, the car won’t be repaired and that the pain in your body is what you fear but since you have faith (despite what some say) it is to places like Matthew 6:25-34 that you can turn and be comforted.  Here you will be reminded that you to need to seek Him because He knows best and this can ease those anxious thoughts.

Worry is a part of life even for Christians and that is why some of the scriptures that deal with it are not obscure but well known.

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Thanks be to God that He recognized that we would worry and that we would need reminded to turn to Him and then be reminded what we should instead be concentrating on.  If it had been left up to those who tell us how sinful we are for our anxious thoughts we wouldn’t have those scriptures.

For Discussion:

1.      Food, clothing, shelter are all legitimate concerns.  What can you do as a group or church to make sure that those first within your midst are taken care of and then those outside the church that you can aid?
2.      Did you know that anxieties about the cares of life are one of the signs of the end of the age?  Anxieties will only grow in our world and that is why Christ warned of them and how if we are not careful we will forget to turn to Him in how we deal with them.  See Luke 21:5-36 and specifically Luke 21:25-26, 34.
3.      Many, if encouraged to share, have wonderful examples from their lives of how they have been comforted by the scriptures or had their needs miraculously met.
4.      For an example of a worrier who was reminded of what was more important see Luke 10:38-42.  Know that she was still loved (John 11:5).  See the entire course of life being lived out: worry, realization of that most feared, reminder and evidence of faith and in the end the great joy and justification for that faith by reading all of John 11.
5.      For those who have overcome obsessive worrying, your story would be valuable to share with others.
6.      It is difficult to remember in times of worry, but discuss how God can in the end be glorified in the final outcome of certain worrisome times.
7.      Discuss that the thing we are to seek before all else is His kingdom and righteousness.

12-4-11:    A Blessing for All Nations (God’s Call to Bless), Genesis 12:1-9
12-11-11:  A Promise to Abraham (A Covenant with God), Genesis 15:1-6, 12-18
12-18-11:  The Lord Provides (The Challenge to Commitment), Genesis 22:1-2, 6-14 or 22:1-14
12-25-11:  According to the Promise (Mary’s Song of Praise), Luke 1:46-55 or 1:46-66; 2:1-7

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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