The BIG IDEA
There are many ways we can use our time, but as Christians we want to invest the time we’ve been given in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.
Many things call for our attention, and it’s tough to know what to put at the top of our list. It’s easy for us to allow things that are culturally acceptable, feel most urgent, or even the expectations of others to determine how we use our time instead of focusing on what’s important.
Since God created us and gave his Son to give us life, we want God’s priorities to be our priorities.
Why THIS MATTERS
Time management is one of the things everyone has to learn. We have a limited amount of hours each day and so many things to fill them with. For the rest of our lives we will be making decisions about how to spend our time. Wouldn’t it be wise to take a little time to learn how to best make those decisions?
I WANT MY STUDENTS TO:
- KNOW: We all have a choice about how we use the time we have been given. We learn about God’s priorities as we spend time with Jesus and learn from him.
- EXPERIENCE: A desire to be a good steward of our time and the peace that comes when we aren’t worried about many unimportant things.
- DO: Make it a priority in our schedules to spend time with Jesus and to learn from him how to plan our time around God’s priorities for our life.
The idea box is a place where you can find some creative ideas for leading this study. You might find videos, activities, or great illustrations that really bring the main point home. The ideas come from small group leaders like you, so if you have an idea that isn’t in there, click below to share it with the community!
*WHAT DO YOU THINK?
There are a few alternative launches for this study.
1) Watch THIS VIDEO
What are your first impressions? The narrator says we should invest our time, rather than spending it. How do you decide what to invest your time in?
2) What is something you would like to do more, but never seem to have the time to do?
Let’s look at a story where people are investing their time in different ways and see what Jesus says about it.
WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT THIS?
*1. What things do you observe about Martha from this passage?
She is showing hospitality to Jesus and his disciples. She is preparing a meal. She invites them in and she is serving them according to the customs of the day. The passage says she is distracted with much serving and worried about many things.
*2. How is Mary using her time differently?
She is sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to his teaching.
3. What specifically does Martha want and how does Jesus respond to her?
Martha wants Mary to help her. She wants Jesus to affirm her expectation for her sister’s help. Martha even insists that Jesus should make Mary help her. He tells her she is worried and distracted about many things, but only one thing is needed. The fact that he says her name twice makes it seem like he really wants to get her attention. He doesn’t fault her for serving, but he points out she is stressed out and blaming her sister because of misplaced priorities.
4. Does the way Jesus responded seem surprising to you?
- Why or why not?
Discuss as a group. Martha wanting Mary to help her might seem reasonable, because it was normal in the culture of the day for women to do the serving. It was not the norm to sit in on the teaching of a rabbi, so it might seem surprising that he said what Mary was choosing to do was the better choice. At the same time, it should not be surprising that Jesus, who said to seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), would say that Mary has made the better choice.
HOW DO WE APPLY THIS TO OUR LIVES?
5. Do you identify more with Martha (worried about many things) or Mary (able to rest and in a place to hear from Jesus) or neither or both? Why?
Allow the group to discuss.
*6. What are ways you spend your time wisely?
- What are some ways you spend your time foolishly?
- Are there any things you know are important that are currently getting pushed out by other things?
Allow the group to discuss.
7. How do you personally decide what things should be priorities in your life?
- How does spending time with God in his word and prayer help you shape your priorities?
Allow the group to discuss. Some things they might use as criteria — What do I gain by spending time in this activity? Are there long term or even eternal benefits of this activity? What are the costs to me/others if I do not do this activity? Does this activity have to be done now or can it wait until a different season? As we spend time with God in his word it helps us know what is important to God and what pleases him.
*8. Think about your typical day:
Make a list of the activities you do in a normal day. (examples might be sleep, school, personal hygiene, eating, doing homework, watching TV/movies, social media, spending time with God, sports or clubs, jobs etc.)
The circle below represents a typical student’s 24 hour day. It has places for sleep, school, etc. Draw your own circle and write in the activities that fill your normal day. Be sure to include the items you brainstormed on your list. Let’s find out where you spend your time!
*9. There is never enough time to do everything we want to do. We have to choose what things are most important to us and make time for them. What are some things that are important to you that you never seem to have enough time for?
*10. As you look at your circle, do you feel like the most important things are getting the time they need?
- How do you think God would want you to change your schedule to make room for those important things?
Allow the group to share their charts and any changes they think they should make.
*11. Where in your schedule do you have time to spend time with Jesus and learn from him?
- If you don’t have it, where do you think God wants you to put it?
Allow the group to discuss. Encourage them to choose a time to spend with Jesus in their daily schedule.
Our review cards are an excellent way to review your past lessons with your students before each study. Not every lesson has one yet but if we have them, you can find them on the PRINT page. Check them out and use them each week to help your students grab hold of the truths in these studies.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.