- Katie Hartfiel
Bible Study Leader's Guide: Priorities People!
Want to grow in relationship with the Lord but have no idea how to squeeze Him in to your tight schedule? Use the leader's guide to this Bible Study to discover how the Lord is calling you! Gather a crowd or conduct a private study and dive into the Lord's Word!
Priorities: Luke 10:38-42
1. Pastoral Notes – These notes are for you as the Bible Study Leader. The goal of these notes is to help you to understand the flow of the Bible study to effectively lead your group.
One of the greatest struggles for teens is time management. Life is stressful and there are so many demands on young people’s life. More often than not, “lack of time” is the number one reason listed when teens are asked what obstacles they face to increasing relationship with God.
It is easy to say God is number one in our lives, but how do we reflect it in the way we spend ourselves?
2. Opening Prayer – Pray this prayer aloud with your group to begin the Bible Study.
Lord, you have created us from nothing. If you stopped thinking of us for a fraction of a moment, we would cease to exist. Be in our minds always. Let us see our lives and every aspect of them through the lens of your heart. We give you the big things and the little things and ask that you show us how to glorify you in every aspect of our lives. We love you Lord, and we wish to love you more.
3. Introduction of Topic – Briefly introduce the topic that the Scripture will unfold by asking the following questions.
Have the group complete the handout (found at the bottom of this page)
Do you see any imbalances?
What stresses you out?
What distracts you from your prayer life?
4. Introduction of Scripture – Luke 10:38-42 Martha and Mary
Ask the group: What do you know about this story?
Chances are you will identify with both characters in this story. Your goal during this study is to discover which one you want to be and what practical steps you will have to take to get there.
5. Proclaim the Scripture - Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to come and enlighten their hearts. Encourage them to let the Holy Spirit guide their hearing of the Scripture and focus on what God wants to say to them. Have someone read the Scripture out loud and then ask questions to get them talking about what they heard. Ask any other questions that can both unpack and personalize this Scripture.
What aspect of this Scripture sticks out to you most?
What word or line stayed with you after hearing this Scripture?
Did anything surprise you?
If you have heard this before, what was new to you hearing it this time?
Name a time in your life that you have been a Martha.
Name a time in your life that you have been a Mary.
6. Read the Scripture a Second Time – Have someone read the Scripture again.
Ask the teens to share the one word, phrase or image from the passage that most sticks out in their minds in hearing it again. Ask them if it is the same or different from the first time they heard it.
7. Teaching –
They say that “how we spend our time is how we spend ourselves.”
If you spend a dollar, you can make another dollar, but you can never get your time back.
This means that time is one of our most precious commodities and it can be one of the most powerful languages and expressions of our love.
When you start to like a guy/girl, you want to be around them. If you have an extra sports or concert ticket you would carefully choose the person you’d like to share it with based on how much you enjoy their presence. We are relational creatures and when we love someone we often crave their presence.
It is easy to say that God is first in our lives, but do we live it?
Do we give God the “first fruits” of our time?
Check out Genesis 4:3-5
God looks with favor on Abel’s offering. Why? Because Abel gave God his “first fruits,” meaning the best part of his firstborn flock. Cain on the other hand gave what he could spare. It didn’t require a sacrifice on Cain’s part.
In the case of Martha and Mary we find two sisters who are both trying to do something good. Each woman is spending her time and giving of herself in the way that she feels is the best use of her time. Jesus reminds Martha that while her work is good, that Mary has chosen “better part.”
The truth is that we make time for a lot of things in our life. If you have a sport you play, you surely make sacrifices in order to excel. To get a driver’s license, you probably had to spend hours of driving time in order to earn it. We spend time studying, bulking up muscles in the gym, straightening hair in the morning, scrolling through our newsfeed and doing any number of things that we feel is important. This is probably in the midst of loads of pressure that you feel in many areas of your life. However, if we value something we find the time.
In Matthew 26:11, Jesus tells the Apostles, “The poor you will always have with you; but you will not always have me.”
There is no lacking of Scripture verses where the Lord is calling us to action. He wants us to serve the poor, visit the sick, spread the Gospel and follow the commandments. He also wants us to exercise, learn discipline in sports, use our musical or artistic gifts, spend time in life-giving relationships, find time for relaxation and leisure as well as expand our minds through hard work in school.
However, Jesus makes it clear, if we do not give Him the first fruits of our time, we are missing out.
He tells Martha, Cain and the Apostles we will find the better part when we fix our eyes upon Him. It is only then that He is able to help us use these other areas of our life to give Him glory while simultaneously bringing order to our lives.
Martha and Mary will always have their chores waiting for them. We will all always have responsibilities. Whether it is school work, projects in your career or piles of laundry and dinner to prepare when you are grown. The question is- how will you manage these life pressures when weighted against the Lord who is sitting there waiting, hoping and longing for you to first recline at His feet?
Fr. Michael Gaitley uses a great analogy in his Do-It-Yourself Retreat book, Consoling the Heart of Jesus. Fr. Gaitley calls to mind the image of a dog playing fetch. After the owner throws the ball the dog is excited, chases the ball and then returns it, covered in saliva. The dog wants nothing more than for the master to throw the ball again. However, he is so enthralled in his enthusiasm that the dog is unable to let go of the ball. Try as he might, the owner will never be able to pry that ball out of the mongrel’s mouth. However, if the master comes down to the dog’s level and looks him in the eyes, repeats words of affection and rubs the dog’s head, it won’t be long before the dog forgets his attachment, drops the ball and therefore owner can scoop it up and toss it again.
So it is with us. We are holding on to things in our lives that are keeping us from what we really want. Is it possible that there are priorities that you are clinging to that are keeping you from your heart’s desire: deeper joy found only in holiness?
It is only when we allow Jesus to come look in our eyes, whisper words of affection and touch our hearts that we, like the dog, can let him take those attachments from us and use them to bring us closer to Him.
Mary knew this and her sister Martha missed out! How will you choose the better part in your own life?
Pope Benedict XVI says, “Do not be afraid of Christ, He takes nothing away and gives you everything.”
When we approach the Lord we don’t miss out. We gain more than we could ever accomplish on our own. It might not always look like what we expect, but when we sit at the feet of the Lord we will never be disappointed.
8. Further Discussion – This is an opportunity to continue to unpack the Scripture.
Discuss handout that was completed at the beginning of the night. Ask the group how they feel about the balance in their life.
What are some practical ways that you can give the Lord first priority in your life?
What makes this difficult?
How can you best approach these challenges?
Do you ever just “waste time” hanging out with friends? Isn’t it the greatest feeling to be able to lounge around and just be yourself with your best friend? What is refreshing about it?
Do you ever “waste time” with the Lord? What would this look like? How would it change your approach to prayer life?
We all have demands on our life. How can you offer your school work, sports, hobbies, extracurricular, social and down time to the Lord? Can you make these things a prayer? How so?
9. Closing Challenge – Ask them how they can live this Scripture in their daily lives.
Have them brainstorm some possible challenges. At the end of the discussion, pick one challenge to live out the coming week. Keep the challenge SMART: simple, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-sensitive.
When we are comfortable in our prayer life that is when we know we are called to go further. How can you challenge yourself to increase your gift of time and self to the Lord?
Will it be hard?
When and when will you do it?
Who will hold you accountable?
10. Closing Prayer - Pray this prayer aloud with your group to begin the Bible Study. This can be preceded by a time of intercessory prayer (praying for their own personal intentions.)
Lord, only you know the desires of our hearts. Only you know our struggles. You are longing for relationship with us, and just as Martha and Mary found you pursuing them within their home, you are so present in our own hearts. As we imagine you there waiting for us to recline at your feet, we ask for the clarity of mind and heart to seek your face always. Show us how to remove the things from our lives that we put before you. Help us to know your Will and give us the courage carry it out in every area of our life. We love you Jesus.
Write down the estimated hours you spend on the average weekday in each of the following areas:
Facebook, computer etc _______
Hanging out or talking to friends _______
Spending time with family _______
Spending time with the Lord _______
Getting ready for school _______
Non-sports extracurricular _______
Other Hobbies _______
Note: The format from this study was written by Mark Hart, the content by Katie Hartfiel