Huddles: October 16, 2019
Rescued to a Kingdom: No Need for Anxiety
Below is the plan for you to follow as you lead out this study. At the end of this post we have attached the full curriculum that includes some very helpful Bible background and commentary to help you as you prepare to lead. Our prayer for you is that the Lord will bring this Scripture to life in your own life and that your leading will be an overflow from that! Let us know if you have any questions.
The Main Idea
The main point we want to make of Matthew 6:25-34 in this lesson is that our worry is rooted in our lack of trust in God and knowing who He is. Worry is common and normal for us as human beings. But, when our faith is placed solidly in the person of God, we can be confident that He holds us and our future in His hands. Therefore, we can trust that He will act accordingly to what is best for us and for His glory. However, this trust does not preclude our own responsibility to use the opportunities that God has given us to work and care for others.
- Set-up: Have two signs ready. One that reads “I have 100% confidence in their ability,” and the other should read “I have 100% confidence in them to do what is good.”
FIRST, invite students to answer, in their mind, the following question:
- Suppose an evil villain was about to send a school bus full of children over Niagara Falls as several of your favorite superheroes were having lunch nearby. Can we trust superheroes to save the children? If yes, why?
Hold up each sign one at a time, and instruct students to raise their hand when you hold up the sign that best represents why they trust their superheroes.
NEXT, after everyone has made a decision, ask a couple of people to explain why they made that choice. Then, ask:
- Can you fully trust a superhero to do what’s right if you don’t have 100% confidence in their ability AND their goodness?
Allow students a moment to explain their responses. Then, point out that when we trust someone fully, we not only trust their ability to do what we need but also their desire to do what is good. Someone can have the ability but be a criminal. Or, you can want to do good but have no ability to help.
FINALLY, explain that this lesson is about how knowing God’s character allows us to trust Him and give up on worrying. Say something like:
- Let’s face it: it’s a lot easier to worry than to not worry. In fact, not worrying is extremely difficult with all that we have going on in our lives today. However, understanding who God is helps us put our trust in the right place (Him) and move forward with confidence in His ability and goodness.
NEXT, instruct students to turn to Matthew 6. While they are finding it, explain that this passage is part of a greater passage of Jesus’ teaching called the Sermon on the Mount. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is teaching what it means to follow Him and to live as part of God’s Kingdom.
THEN, read or have a student read Matthew 6:25-34. Instruct students to count the word “worry” (or, depending on your translation, phrases that mean the same thing). Point out that this passage mentions “worry” six times. Ask:
- What can the repetition of a word or phrase in a passage help us understand?
- Answer: It can clue us in on something very important in the passage. Explain that in this case the repetition is pointing out the main point that the author is addressing.
- How many of the times that “worry” is mentioned is it in a negative way or in a negative command (i.e., “do not worry”)?
- Answer: At least half of the occurrences of “worry” are found in the command “do not worry.” Note that we can be sure that Jesus’ focus wasn’t on worrying itself as much as His command to leave worry behind. They were now His followers and could leave worry in the past, along with their pagan ways.
ASK something like:
- When you hear the word “worry,” what do you think about? What does that word mean to you?
- Answers will vary. Point out that verse 30 gives us a clue about what worry may mean in this passage when Jesus calls His audience, “O you of little faith.”
- In your own words, how is worry the opposite of faith?
- Answer: Faith trusts God, but worry reveals distrust in God’s ability and desire to care for us.
Tell them that “Worry is the opposite of faith.” Point out that if trusting God is the opposite of worry, then we trust Him best when we know who He is and we believe it. Now say “Knowing God is the opposite of worry.”
THEN, ask something like:
- According to the statements I’ve just made, what helps us chip away at the root of worry?
- Answer: Knowing God and trusting in Him. Point out that this passage reveals two important aspects of God’s character that can help us know and trust Him.
- Looking through the passage, how does Jesus identify God to His audience?
- Answer: The first, more easily identifiable title, is Heavenly Father. The second title is less obvious, and you may have to help students by pointing out that it relates to the idea that God has a Kingdom, and we are part of it: He is our King.
NEXT, divide students into two groups. Assign the first group verses 26-27—the birds. Assign the second group verses 28-32—the lilies. Instruct them to answer the following questions:
- What do these verses tell us about God?
- What do these verses tell us about God’s relationship with His people?
Allow students several minutes to discuss their answers to these questions. When time is up, invite a spokesperson from each group to share their answers with everyone. Point out that Jesus identified God as our Heavenly Father in both instances. And, in both instances, Jesus used a traditional Jewish method of teaching by using a lesser to greater argument. Say something like:
- Jesus wanted His listeners to understand that God cares for His creation—not to compare humans with birds and flowers, but to illustrate the tremendous value that God places on His people. The bird illustration reveals God’s good, fatherly character in that He values and cares for His people, and He desires to provide for them. If God takes such great effort to feed birds, then we can know that He wants to provide for us. The lily illustration shows us that our Heavenly Father knows our needs. Not only does He want to provide for us, He is able to provide for us.
Explain to the students that God is a Heavenly Father who wants to provide for us and is able to provide for us. Then, ask:
- God does not usually miraculously provide food or clothing. Furthermore, there are plenty of Christ-followers around the world who are hungry and in need of clothing and shelter. How does this passage make sense?
- Answer: Jesus’ use of birds in this passage is a unique example of a creature that works very hard to store food and harvest food. God has provided opportunities, but they still must work. So, God provides through work, but He also provides through others. We can look all the way back to the Laws He gave to His people in Exodus and Deuteronomy to understand that God made provisions for those who had an abundance to give sacrificially to those who were in need. God wants to provide for others in need through His people.
THEN, note that Jesus’ identification of God as King gives us further insight into His character. Ask:
- God is a loving Heavenly Father, but He is also our good King. What does God’s kingship over us say about our relationship to Him and the way we live?
- Answer: God is deserving of our life to pursue Him. If He is our King, then we are to live according to His ways.
- But, if we live according to His ways, does that mean we will have an easy life? What does Jesus’ knowledge that tomorrow has enough troubles (v. 30) tell us about following Him?
- Answer: When God provides for us, it does not mean life will be easy.
Explain that if God is King, then He is always King, whether life is easy or hard. He is sovereign, meaning that He is in charge, no matter what is going on in our lives. When we believe that our sovereign God is also a good Father, then we let go of our worry. Explain that while God is our Heavenly Father is also King. He deserves our service and is sovereign in our troubles.
FINALLY, acknowledge that today we are faced with a passage that can seem untrue in our experience—namely, that God will provide for all of our needs even though we see followers of God in need all over the world. Not to mention the promise that God will provide for us even though our days may be filled with trouble. That seems enough to set off distrust right away and fill us with worry. Ask something like:
- But, thinking about what we have discussed today, why can we live in confidence even though we don’t know what will happen?
- Answer: Because we know that God is a loving Father who has the desire and ability to give us what we need (not necessarily what we want), and He is the King who has control of our tomorrows.
Say something like:
- If He is good and able, then He is trustworthy to do as He says He will do, and we can confidently obey Him, knowing that our greatest desire is to know Him, counting everything else as loss. When we know God, we can have faith in Him to do what He says.
Ask if there are any questions, then transition into The Last Word & Application.
Last Word & Application
FIRST, distribute the paper and pens. Instruct students to make three columns on their paper. Direct students to list three of the greatest worries they are facing in the first column. Then, tell students to write down why they are worried about these situations in the second column, next to the worries listed. Encourage them to really dig into their hearts and minds to consider why they are worried. Ask:
- Do you notice a common theme about why you are worried? Is it pride? Is it lack of control? Is it concern for the future? Is it fear? Is it a combination of these reasons?
NEXT, explain that worrying, although completely normal for the human condition, is often a result of a deeper condition that has little to do with our circumstances. Look at the reasons you wrote down and think about the ones just mentioned. At some point, all of these reasons are connected to our lack of trust in God and His desire and ability to do what we think is best. Say something like:
- What we think is best is not always what we would choose if we had all of the information that God has. That’s why we must trust His goodness to do what is best and believe that He not only has the desire, but also the ability to work out what is best for us.
Point out that trusting is most often easier said than done. Sometimes we just have to choose to believe what we know is true about God, no matter what we feel. Knowing that tomorrow won’t be easy isn’t exactly comforting, but knowing that God is with us and values us brings peace. In that belief and trust, there is freedom.
THEN, instruct students to use the third column to write at least three truths about God that we talked about today.
FINALLY, call on a student to read Philippians 4:6 aloud. Explain that we are going to do that right now. Encourage students to look over what they’ve written down and to spend a couple of minutes acknowledging their worries to God, asking Him to give them peace in those situations and thanking Him for who He is and that He cares for us. After a few minutes, say something like:
- Worrying can be a lifelong challenge as everything constantly changes around us. Hold on to the truths you know about God from His Word. Make a choice every day to believe them and surrender your worries to Him.
Make sure there are no closing thoughts or questions, and then close in prayer, asking God to reveal Himself to us and show us how we are attempting to reach Him in our own efforts.
Click here to access the full lesson!