Have you ever had someone stop by your house earlier than expected? The house was a mess, dishes not done, laundry everywhere. Maybe you had a surprise test in school but you hadn’t been studying or doing your homework. Have you had a project at work that you boss wanted done sooner than originally scheduled? You had put off doing some major parts of it because you thought you had more time. If only you had known you could have been ready. If only you had been preparing the whole time. This week we’re taking a look at how we can work diligently with all our hearts for God so when Christ returns, our lives aren’t defined by “if only…”
DILIGENCE: Consistently working with all your heart to bring glory to God
MEMORY VERSE: “Therefore my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 CORINTHIANS 15:58 (NIV)
This Week’s Finish Line: I Can Work with All My Heart for the Lord because He Is Coming Again
In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus told His disciples a parable. In it there were 10 bridesmaids waiting to light the way for a groom on His wedding night. Only 5 of them were diligent and came prepared to wait for His promised return. When the groom finally arrived, the 5 diligent bridesmaids were invited to the wedding feast while the 5 foolish ones were left out. In John 14:2-3 Jesus promised that He, like the groom, will come back again and we, like the bridesmaids, won’t know when but we must be ready. God calls us to live as if we believe that everything He says is absolutely true and that He could come back tomorrow. We don’t know how much time we have but we can work with all our hearts for Him right now as we wait in hope for His return.
- What was the difference between the two groups of bridesmaids in Matthew 25:1-13? Which group was diligent? Why?
- What did the diligent bridesmaids believe about the groom and his promise to come? How did the foolish bridesmaids show they didn’t trust him?
- Read John 14:2-3. What does Jesus promise in these verses? Do you trust that every promise God makes will come true? Why?
- What would you do if you knew for sure Jesus was coming back tomorrow? What keeps you from living that way right now?
Bring It Home:
1. The Ant and the Grasshopper
Plan a mini movie night and watch Disney’s animated short of Aesop’s story The Ant and the Grasshopper. Talk with your kids about how they see diligence in this cartoon. Who was diligent and what did they do? What similarities and differences do they see between this and the parable we studied this week in Matthew 25?
2. Diligence with Chores
Having your kids help with chores around the house is a great way to encourage diligence. Give each of your kids an age appropriate chore to do in the morning before school and one to do in the afternoon or evening when they get home. Make surprise inspections on the tasks you’ve given them to do and have a consistent system of rewards and consequences for chores done, not done or only partially finished. Encourage positive attitudes when you see them in your kids because God is most concerned with their hearts, not that they’ve checked something off a list. For more ways to encourage your kids to be diligent workers at home, check out this blog post from Keepers of the Home.
3. Diligence Memory Verse
Set aside a particular time each day this week to practice this month’s memory verse, 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV. It can be while driving your kids to school, around the dinner table or at bedtime. Whatever time you pick, be diligent to follow through so your whole family can have it memorized by the end of the week.
Thank God for always keeping His promises. Ask Him to help you remain diligent as you wait for Him to fulfill His promise to return. Thank Him for the amazing work of Jesus & the hope you have because of the Gospel.
Next week we will look the task Jesus gave to his disciples all all believers who came after them, the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20. Our work for the Lord is never useless.
When are you most likely to talk with your kids about what they learned on Sunday? Do you have a time set aside to do a family devotional every week?
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