As we begin a New Year, today we begin a new series as the Church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany. The new series, entitled, “Greater Than,” is all about worry and fear. Typically, we all have a lot of things we are worried about. We worry about our family, our children, our finances, our job security, our retirement savings, and many other things. Worry can be defined as “giving away to unease and anxiety.” If we acknowledge that our worries are at least partly a conscious choice in which we “give way” to something, then we have a chance to control these fears in the light of faith. Of course, we all have different worries according to our place and state in life, but we can probably have more self-control than we sometimes realize. In the Sermon on the Mount, right after Jesus talks about money, he says this: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear” (Matthew 6:25). Jesus is affirming, first of all, that we can choose to not worry. Jesus would never give us a commandment which we could not obey. In the rest of this passage (6:25-35), Jesus reminds us that God will take care of us. Worrying adds nothing to our life, and in fact it probably hurts our life. Worrying is opposed to faith, because it is forgetfulness of the reality that we are worth more to our Heavenly Father than the lilies of field in all their beauty. In this series, we will look at how we can “seek first the Kingdom and his righteousness” (6:33) as a way to counter worry, and to live in the present instead of worrying about tomorrow. Questions for Small Groups:
How would you define worry? What’s the difference between a worry and simply carrying a burden or responsibility?
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest, how much do you worry? Why do you answer as you do?
Do you believe that worry is a choice or is it inevitable? Why do you answer as you do?
Read Matthew 6:31-34 out loud. What does Jesus say are the solutions to worry? What is your reaction to his in instruction?
What does it mean practically to seek first the kingdom of God?
If the thing you are most devoted to fuels your worry, what does that tell you about what you are most devoted to right now?