Date: January 15, 2023
Session Title: Valued by God
The Point: God values life and we should too.
Get Into the Study
Use this story after discussing question one.
It’s that time of year—the time to make new year’s resolutions (or look back at whether or not we stuck to the ones we made in years past). People love new year’s resolutions because it gives us the opportunity to turn the page and hope that the story we write this year will be better than the story we wrote last year. We want more in savings, our clothes to fit better, or to take on a new challenge. We may even look to others we admire who have done great things—even things that have shocked us—in years past and try to figure out how they did it!
As people made in the image of God, we are all born with the opportunity to do wonderful things in this world. Whether those things are great or small in the world’s eye doesn’t really matter—what does matter if we do them with great love. As Christ loves us, may we begin this year by viewing our fellow humans as a reflection of God, known and loved by Him. May we deeply value each person we encounter.
What would it look like to start this year with greater love for others?
Get Into the Study [Option from the Adult Leader Guide, p. 83]
In advance, play a video that shows someone accomplishing things beyond others’ expectations. Then ask Question #1.
Study the Bible
Use this story after discussing question five.
A recent article in the Washington Post walked parents through the stages of child development—as directly related to stages of learning empathy for others. From infancy through the late teen years, children continue to learn more and more about what it means to care for and about others, but the capacity for empathy seems to be something we are created with. The article states:
“One of the earliest building blocks of empathy is evident even in the first 24 hours of life, David Walsh said: ‘Newborn infants in a nursery, for example, will show signs of distress when other babies are very distressed. Of course they have no cognitive ability to understand what’s going on, but this is evidence that the underlying wiring, the architecture of the brain, enables us from the very get-go to be able to respond emotionally.’ Walsh cited renowned psychologist Daniel Goleman, who drew on the work of psychologist Paul Ekman and identified three distinct components of empathy: cognitive, emotional and compassionate. ‘The emotional component emerges first,’ Walsh said. ‘The capacity is there.’”
Even from birth, we are created to care about one another—how incredible it is that a newborn baby can respond to the emotions of another? God has created each life unique, valued by Him. The more we learn, the more we see how immediately and wholly a person is formed—how the soul is always present. May we, as believers, be faithful in valuing life.
Take some time this week to pray for the unborn and their mothers. What are some local ways you could support mothers who choose life in your own community?
Study the Bible [Option from the Adult Leader Guide, p. 91]
In advance, play a video clip of a baby developing in the womb. Draw attention to the way Scripture uses language that captures this miraculous development well.
Option from Senior Adult Leader Guide
Display this image of a fingerprint. Remind the group that each individual is unique, just as each fingerprint is unique.
- What are some traits or abilities that society uses to judge people as more, or less, important?
- Where do you see evidence that our society values some lives more than others?
- How does it make you feel to know that the God of the universe values you?
- In what ways throughout your life have you been aware that God cares about you and that God cares for you?
- Which portion of this passage stands out to you the most?
- What do these verses reveal about God?
- Why would anyone try to escape the presence of God?
- How does God’s presence convince you of His love?
- How does God’s desire to be with all of us prove the sacredness of life?
- Why do some people try to hide from the presence of God?
- How do these verses give value to each individual, regardless of their capacity and/or contributions to society?
- What steps can the church take to support those with developmental disabilities or health troubles?
- What difference does it make that an omnipresent and all-knowing God created us?
For Those in Your Group
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
- HomeLife – This Child, These Children
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.