The Point: Love for God includes a costly love for others.
- Get Into the Study
- Live It Out
- Additional Questions
- Member Extra
- Tips for Leading Bible Study Groups
Get Into the Study
Use the following illustration and video as a supplement to Question #1 from the study material.
One of the best things about sports in general is that they provide a number of interesting and spectacular moments for spectators of all kinds — including several moments of kindness and good sportsmanship. One such moment occurred in a recent tennis match between Jack Sock of the United States and Lleyton Hewitt of Australia.
Deep into the Hopman Cup tournament, Sock waited to receive a serve from Hewitt. The ball rocketed across the court in what appeared to be a fault — the referee called the serve out of bounds. Amazingly, as Hewitt prepared for his follow-up serve, his competitor told him the ball had in fact landed in bounds, costing himself a point. You can watch the entire exchange at this link.
We love hearing these stories of kindness and sportsmanship in today’s world — largely because such stories have become so rare. But, as we’ll see throughout this session, loving others should be a primary concern for all followers of Christ.
Live It Out
Use the following activity as on optional wrap up to this session.
Print off and distribute each of the following real-life scenarios to a volunteer. After you have discussed the opening paragraph about desperation, instruct the volunteers to read their scenario out loud. Afterwards, use the following questions to discuss the issue of needs and our responses to them.
Desperation is hard to imagine for most of us. We can intellectually know how our giving helps those in need, but apart from experience we cannot appreciate its impact in the same way. For the majority of us, our mornings look like this: wake up in a warm bed in a bedroom; put on clothes that are clean, dry & fit; eat food we purchased that tastes good and is not expired; go to a job by transportation of choice.
Many do not enjoy the same morning routine. Consider these statements that communicate the realities of many people in our world.
- “When I hear the doorbell, I hope to God it isn’t someone from my work. They would probably realize I’m the one taking people’s lunches from the work room fridge. We can’t pay our rent and I just don’t buy groceries. I have lots of ramen noodles but I’ve eaten them so much I just can’t.” – Cailyn, 28
- “My mom loaned me some money to get some dental work done, but I spent it on clothes for my kids. They go to public school where all the kids wear great clothes we can’t have but I can’t stand for them not to have them. They get teased anyway for being poor. My mouth pain is real bad but I want my kids to feel good, you know?” Ryan, 44
- “I always pull the throwd-away milks kids didn’t open from the trash can and put ém in my back pack to take home. We don’t have milk.” – Andreas, 9
- “We have to move again. Dad can’t pay the alimony and live in this apartment, so now we have to probably move in with my grandparents. They hate us. I love him but I just want to live with mom so I don’t have to move around all the time and be around my grandparents. They can’t stand us eating their food and taking up their space. They don’t like my mom so obviously they don’t like me.” -Abby, 15
- “Friends ask me to come to church and I really thought about it. They’re nice and I know they mean it. I just can’t go do the things they do, you know? They all go out to eat a lot and go on these weekend trips and they take their kids places to do stuff and I really can’t pay for it. I know they would help if they had any idea but it’s too embarrassing. It’s embarrassing to only look forward to every other Friday (pay day.) My kids always beg to go when they ask in front of them and I cry in the car when I tell them no.” –Jennifer, 40
- “I know people probably don’t think much about me and that’s okay. I worked hard and made a good living and never needed anything. My wife’s medical issues really cost us a lot and now there’s things I just can’t do or have. God’s been good, that’s not it. I just want to know if I can turn on my heat.” Marty, 71
People in need are all around but they are camouflaged. They go to our churches, schools and workplaces. They have needs but won’t tell. They suffer silently. They need us.
- Which quote had a significant impact on you personally?
- List some specific things these individuals had to do in order to adapt to their needs and how they dealt with these needs.
- Place yourself in that scenario. What are you feeling? How are you going to handle your crisis?
- How do these concrete details of “being in need” change your thinking about truly helping people?
- What can the church do to help people and preserve their dignity?
- Most of these people can hide their needs well. What would it take to discover the needs of those around you, using love and discretion?
— Emily Jennings wrote this Leader Extra. Emily is wife to Brian and Mommy to her three sweet boys. She loves serving at FBC, Woodstock, Georgia, where her husband is Middle School Pastor. Find her on Twitter: @emilyejennings.
- Have you ever been a recipient of a random act of kindness? If so, how did it make you feel?
- When have you been the recipient of a random act of kindness or an unexpected blessing from a friend?
- If money were no object, what single act of kindness would you personally like to do for someone?
- What are some ways you try to express love for others?
- When have have you performed a “random act of kindness” for a stranger?
- What does it mean to be nice? What is kindness? What is love? How are the three alike? Different?
- What does loving compassion look like in action?
- How should Christians today respond to challenging questions designed to test them?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of a random act of kindness to express God’s love?
- How can we intentionally live out the Shema in our lives today?
- Why did Jesus emphasize the connection between loving God and loving others?
- We are all different and some of God’s commands are easier to obey than others, which commands do you struggle with?
- What keeps us from loving as we should?
- When you see a situation that calls for loving action – how do you decide when and where to get involved?
- Why do we pass by people today who are obviously in need?
- If Jesus were telling this same parable today, how do you think He might change it so that we could more directly relate to it?
- Who are some “neighbors” we try to avoid in our culture? How do we justify our actions?
- When you see a person in clear need right in front of you, how to you tend to respond?
- How do we sometimes put demands on love?
- What’s the key to loving without demands?
- What actions did the Good Samaritan take that Jesus said should be emulated by His followers?
- What are some of the potential costs for us if we express God’s love as the Good Samaritan did?
- What can we learn about Jesus from this passage?
- Does any part of Jesus’ story and teaching leave you feeling uncomfortable? Why?
- How does this risky, costly love contrast from the “random acts of kindness” model of giving?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: