Summer on the Mount: Week 10
Welcome and Opening Prayer:
Welcome the group and open with prayer.
Anxiety, Worry, and Treasures in Heaven:
This week focuses on Jesus’ exhortation in Matthew 6:25-34 to live a life of dependence on God’s provisions and to not worry about daily provisions, how we are perceived by the world around us, and the future. Jesus uses humor and simple images to convey this truth: when we live for treasures in heaven and understand the worth that we have in God’s eyes, we naturally worry less. Why? Because we entrust ourselves to God’s good, generous and providing nature. Jesus acknowledges the reality of anxiety and worry while at the same time inviting us into a way of interacting with the world, our lives, and Him that prevents us from being overwhelmed and flooded by worry.
Read Matthew 6:25-34 and then sit silently with the passage for 5 minutes. Notice the images, Jesus’ use of rhetorical questions, and the invitations of Jesus communicated through this passage. Notice what words or images or phrases stand out to you as particularly beautiful or thought provoking.
Consider Jesus’ invitations to observe birds.
- Jesus watched the birds to learn truths about the Creator from them. Think of the birds you see in your daily life: sparrows, seagulls, pigeons, hawks, etc. Think about their behaviors. How do your observations about them line up with Jesus’ point in this passage?
- What is Jesus’ main message about worry and worthiness in these verses?
- What is Jesus inviting His followers like you to consider about your lives and the ways you interact with the world?
Consider Jesus’ invitation to observe the lilies of the field or other flowers.
- Using the example of the lilies, what is Jesus saying about God’s care for humans?
- The phrase “oh you of little faith” stems from a Greek word Jesus may have made up on His own: oligopistoi, which literally means “little-faiths.” It seems to be a term of endearment He uses to gently point out the way His followers often lack confidence in God and in Himself. What are the areas of your current life, the relationships, circumstances, and situations that make up your daily existence, where you are being a “little-faith”?
- How might Jesus gently invite you to trust and let go of worry? What are the practical implications of those invitations?
…Are you not much more valuable than they?
Jesus goes out of His way to highlight the value we have in the eyes of God. When talking about the birds, He says “Are you not much more valuable than they?” When speaking about the lilies, He says, “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”
- How might believing and experiencing our dignity and value in God’s eyes change the way we interact with the worries and anxieties of our life?
Read Matthew 7:24-27:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Jesus culminates His Sermon on the Mount with this parable about the importance of practically applying His teaching. Split into pairs and discuss, support, and then pray.
- What is the biggest or most striking idea or invitation from today’s discussion and from Sunday’s sermon?
- What are practical ways you can apply what you noticed? (For example, is there a conversation to have, a commitment to make, or request for help you need to make?)
The sermon next Sunday, August 13th, will be on Matthew 7:1-6. In order to be prepared for Sunday’s sermon and CG next week, try to read these 6 verses daily and take note of how they resonate with you.