Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Re-cap

I LOVE my Sunday School class.  Excuse me, I mean my Sunday morning Small Group.
We are waiting for God to bring more students to our class and trust that He will bring the right people at the right time.  For now, we have one student and we will not abandon our class because there is only one student.  We work to make this the best class possible, and we learn a great deal from our student. 

Our curriculum is The Friendship Ministry curriculum endorsed by Joni and Friends.  Or perhaps I should say that the basic bones or structure of what we do comes from them.  I have to admit that we modify things a great deal to meet the needs of our student.  I like the structure of this curriculum and how it is an organized walk through the Bible.  We began in Genesis back in late January and will wrap that book up next Sunday before starting on Exodus.

This week we studied Joseph and his relationship (!) with his brothers.  This is part of the unit titled, "God Cares For His People".  I am big on defining words.  I think that we use many words and phrases, especially within the culture of the church, that we don't understand.  So I began this lesson talking about what it means to care.  I thought I would share with you what I wrote and talked about Sunday

The theme of this unit is that God Cares for His people.
What does that mean?  What does the word “care” really mean?

I care about New Zealand.  I have never been there, and I will probably not ever get to go there.  But I have seen pictures and I think it is a beautiful place.   I don’t know anyone who lives there.  I don’t know that much about what the people are like and what kinds of things they like to do.  So that kind of caring is not very strong.

My family cares about the land and home that God has entrusted to us.  Mr. Marvelous works hard to keep it up.  We plant a garden each year and raise food that I preserve so that we can eat the food from our land in the winter.  We raise chickens so that we can have eggs, and rabbits so that we can have meat.  We keep bees so that we can have honey.  We tend the animals when they are sick and make sure that they always have the right kind of good food and water.  We protect them from coyotes and hawks and snakes and possums and armadillos.  That kind of caring is pretty strong, and it takes  work.

Mr. Marvelous cares about our family.  He goes to work at his job each day so that he can earn money to provide for us.  He grows food for us.   When he is done taking care of his job and our home, he is TIRED.  But if our son calls him and is having car problems, he drops everything to go and help him out.  If I need something from town, we go and get it.  On Saturdays he makes sure that we get to go out and do something fun so that I can get out of the house for a little while.  It might be grocery shopping (which he does not enjoy doing, by the way, but he does it for me), it might be going to yard sales, it might just be going for a drive.  I know that if someone came to our home and tried to hurt me, Mr. Marvelous would do anything he could to care for me and protect me.  So this kind of caring is different.  It means making sure I have what I need, making sure I am protected from any harm, and making sure that I know I am loved.  This is a whole different kind of caring.  It is love at work.

Mr. Marvelous is not perfect.  He is a sinner who has been saved by the grace of Jesus.  He can not know everything, he can not be everywhere, and he can not do everything.  If Mr. Marvelous is at work and I call him with an emergency, it will take him time to get home.  If our son calls with an emergency, Mr. Marvelous will have to choose who to help.  He can not be at work, help me, and help our son all at the same time.  But God can!  God knows everything.  He knows exactly what we need even when we don’t know ourselves.  God is everywhere at the same time.  If I need help and He is in the middle of taking care of my babies out in Utah, God is able to take care of me at the same time He is taking care of them!  God is all powerful.  If a criminal came to our house and tried to hurt me, Mr. Marvelous might not be strong enough to protect me.  But God is always strong enough to take care of me and protect me.  

There have been times in my life when things were hard.   I have had family and friends who have died.  Sometimes we have not had much money and wondered if we were going to be able to buy what we needed and pay our bills.  Sometimes we have had to move places that were not nice and be around people who were not nice to us.  But no matter how hard things seemed to be, I always, always knew that God was right there taking care of things.  As I have gotten older, I can look back on my life and see how God was taking care of me in hard, bad times.  So when other hard or bad times come, I can remember this; “God took care of me then, He is not going to stop taking care of me now.  He has showed me that He will take care of me no matter what, so I can trust Him to keep on taking care of me even in this hard time”.    

In the hard times in life I have often thought about Joseph.  Joseph trusted that God was taking care of him when things were good and when things were bad.  Joseph was rejected by his brothers.  He was hurt, he was thrown into a deep pit, he was sold into slavery.  If it had not been for his oldest brother Reuben, he would have been killed!  In fact, his father was told that he had been killed by wild animals.  Yet even with all these bad things that happened to them, Joseph and Jacob both chose to trust in God’s care for them.  

Jesus’ brothers were unkind to him.  They accused him of being crazy.  The people around Him accused him of awful things, did not appreciate what He did for them, and finally murdered him on the cross.  Joseph cared enough about his brothers to rescue them from starving.  Jesus cared enough to rescue his brothers, his people, and us from hell.  

No matter how hard life might be, we can surely trust our God to take care of us!

No comments: