International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday November 27, 2011
Purpose: To celebrate the loving care of God
Scripture Text: Matthew 6:25-34
Matthew 6:25-34 (NRSV)
(25)“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (26)Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (27)And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? (28)And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, (29)yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. (30)But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?(31)Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ (32)For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (33)But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (34)“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
"Don't Worry, Be Happy" is a song by musician Bobby McFerrin. Released in September 1988, it became the first a cappella song to reach the number one spot on Billboards top 100 hits. Today's lesson will attempt to teach us what it means when the Bible as well as Bobby McFerrin tells us “Don't worry.”
In order to understand today's text we need to go back one verse so we can see the context of what Jesus was talking about. Verse 24 of Matthew 5 says this, “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth". Jesus understood that a lack of wealth is often equated to worry. In the teaching method used by Jesus he uses nature as a way of comparing what man sees as needs and what is provided by God for all of nature. Jesus had already taught that anger can destroy one's relationships the same as murder, now he equates worry as a source for destroying our relationship with God. Jesus teaches that pursuing wealth causes us to rely on ourselves rather than on Him that created us. Being consumed by creating enough wealth so that we do not worry, does not necessarily work. And it that is how our time is spent, what about God?
We were told in last week's lesson to pray for our “daily bread,” so I don't think Jesus was telling us not to be concerned about our need for food, water, and clothing. The Greek verb used in this text as (to worry) is (merimnao) which translated means “fearfully anxious” or “troubled,” as used in Psalm 38:18 or “heartfelt concern” as used in Philippians 2:20. Jesus wants us to be reasonably concerned, but not distracted to the point that we miss the really important things. God wants to be our provider and He wants us to be dependent upon Him, that is what God does. That is why we call him “Our Father” And that is why he says, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Jesus ask this in the form of a rhetorical question, and it sounds a lot like the way Jesus answered the tempter in Matthew 4:4 when he said, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” It is important to remember that Jesus was talking to his disciples that he had just ask to drop everything and “follow me.” they have just been assured that there needs will be provided for, and they always were.
In the verses that follow Jesus once again as he had previously said, the creator God is God of everything and He cares about everything and He provides all of the necessity’s, whether birds or man. My father used to tell me, “worrying helps,” “because most of the things I worry about never happen.” Certainly Jesus says something similar when he says, “can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your....life.”
Jesus brings the discussion down to faith, it is a lack of faith and trust in God's ability to provide that causes us to worry about how “we” are going to provide for ourselves the things that God has promised. But remember God did not promise to provide us with all of our wants. Jesus reminds us that our first desire should be, “for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these (other necessary) things will be given to you as well.”
Lastly, the Kingdom should be our ultimate focus, not today or tomorrow, but maintaining that right relationship with God, our neighbors and family, that is what God wants us to focus on. “God's will on earth as it is in heaven.” That is what we pray, and that is what God also wants, for each of us.