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This object lesson can be used for Sunday school, youth lesson or even family worship time! It's a great reminder for all of us not to worry.
How often have we seen a student struggling to carry the load of books and supplies stuffed in their backpack? From now on may we remind ourselves God has asked us to trust Him with carrying the burden of our worries and anxiety.
Topic: No Worries...Giving God our Cares
Object Lesson Title: A Backpack of Worries
Object: Backpack, heavy books or other heavy random useless items
Bible Verses: Matthew 6:27, Matthew 11:28-30, 1 Peter 5:6-8, Philippians 4:6-7
Key Takeaway: We can trust God with all our worries.
Worry...we are all guilty of it. I say guilty because when we worry, we are not trusting God and that can give Satan a hold in our life. Worry is bad for our physical, mental, emotional & spiritual health. It's bad for our relationships. It's bad for anyone around us, especially impressionable souls like our children.
Let's use this object lesson to help us, as well as our kids, learn how to give our worries and anxiety to God and trust Him.
Fill your backpack with a few useful items such as back-to-school supplies and several very large random books. Put the backpack on and appear to be struggling under its weight.
Have students comment on items they normally carry in their backpacks and how they use each. Ask them to guess what might be in your backpack.
Set the backpack on the ground and begin to unload the large random books commenting on their uselessness and not really knowing why you packed them. Finally pull out your Sunday School lesson book, Bible or other supplies that you did need to have with you.
Everyday we carry around worries just like a load of books that weren't ours to carry. Have student name some worries or fears with which they struggle. Share a few of your own worries. Mine would include: worry something bad will happen to my family, worry my paycheck won't cover the bills, worry about what other think of me, etc. Can we usually fix or do something about these things ourselves?
Tell them that today we are going to see what God's Word says about things we try to carry ourselves such as worries, anxiety, fears, etc. and how we can learn to trust God to carry these for us.
Have everyone turn to the book of Matthew chapter 6 in their Bibles. This is part of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus is speaking and teaching. Read aloud verses 25-27:
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?" NLT
Jesus instructs us NOT to worry! In verse 25 He says "That is why..." Have students look back and if they can find the why in 24. Help them understand that a master is someone you depend upon. When we worry, we are depending on someone or something besides God.
Put everything back inside the backpack and ask for a volunteer to stand by you with the backpack on their back while you teach.
Now that we know we shouldn't worry, how do we live that out in everyday life?
Read 1 Peter 5:6-8 -"So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." NLT
When we worry, we are actually being prideful. We are trying to handle hard things ourselves rather than trusting God. We must first admit we can't carry it all, we need help!
Pride is always a doorway for Satan. Worry, anxiety and fear can really devour or eat us up! They paralyze us and keep us from being who God has called us to be - courageous warriors for Christ!
We are to "give" or as other translations say "cast" our cares on God. This is a word picture of literally placing them on His back.
At this point take the backpack off the student's back and put it on your own.
Ask your volunteer to explain how that made them feel with you taking the load for them. God wants to do this for us too. He wants us to trust Him with our worries, anxiety and fear.
Paul sums up this process when writing to the Philippians in chapter 4 verses 6-7:
"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." NLT
Paul explains that our part is:
Then God will give us peace that no one can understand, but it can guard our heart and mind in Christ Jesus!
Take all the useless things out of your backpack and put to the side. Place the "much lighter" backpack now back on your back.
Read together out loud the words of Jesus found in Matthew 11:28-30 -
"Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” NLT
When we walk closely with Jesus, He is there to carry our burdens of worry, anxiety and fear. He lightens our load and we can then "run the race set before us" (Hebrews 12:1-2) all out for Him!
Close the object lesson with a time of prayer asking God to carry our present worries and to guard our hearts and minds with His peace as we trust Him.
Written by Susan Smart - 2018
Print out a copy of this backpack coloring sheet (created by Heather) for each student. Have them write some of their worries and fears on the back and then write: Never Worry. Pray Always. Give Thanks. Philippians 4:6-7 on the front and color or decorate it and hang it somewhere at home as a reminder of this object lesson.
Cut colored card stock into 3"x 4" cards. Have students used markers to write: "Never Worry. Pray Always. Give Thanks." on one side and their name on the other. Use stickers to decorate; then cover with clear contact paper; punch a hole and add a ribbon to tie it onto their backpacks as a reminder!
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