It’s that time of year!
Long summer days and topsy turvy routines come to an end. They’re replaced with the excitement of fall’s back-to-school season and a fresh start to a whole lot of “new.” New classroom, new routine, new friends.
Something new can be exciting. New can also mean you’re not quite sure what to expect. What’s coming isn’t what you’re used to. So use this back-to-school devotional for kids AND adults to talk about change.
(Make this a contest to come up with the longest list of ideas.)
The beginning of the school year brings a lot of new things.
How many new things you can you think of? (e.g. new backpacks, new notebooks)
For some people, what’s new can mean excitement. They’re excited to meet new classmates; they’re excited to wear a new T-shirt. For other people, what’s new means something unexpected, different and feeling like “I’m-just-not quite so sure about this.” (I’m not sure how I feel about a classroom, etc.)
The Story of a Big, Brand New Change
(Tell or read this story from Genesis 12:1-9)
Abraham* lived in the city of Ur. [Emphasize this odd-sounding name until you’re being silly; kids love it.]
His father lived Ur.
His brother lived in Ur.
And, of course, his wife Sarah lived in Ur.
Ur was Abraham’s home, the place he worked and slept and ate and laughed with friends.
One day God said, “Abraham, I’m going to give you a new home. Leave Ur. Leave your home and country. Leave your friends and neighbors and go to a place I’ll show you.”
Leave my home? My country? My family? thought Abram. Move to a new home and a new country? That wasn’t going to be easy. But Abraham had faith. He believed God.
Abraham rounded up his camels and sheep and donkeys. He and and Sarah washed clothes and packed clothes, prepared food and packed food.
The night before he left, Abraham ran his hands over the strong brick walls of his home. His feet slapped across the courtyard and climbed the stairs one last time. He looked out the window, and felt the cool breeze on his face. He was going to miss his home.
Early the next morning, Abraham and Sarah hugged their family goodbye and waved to their neighbors. With camels and sheep following, they trekked down the road to a new home, a new country, and a different people.
“By faith Abraham…obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8). They left everything they’d ever known, everything comfortable and familiar, because they had faith. Abraham and Sarah believed God was with them and would help them as they met new people in a new home in a new country.
*Even though Abram’s and Sarai”s hadn’t been changed yet at this point in the story, I’m using the more familiar names.
(Use this section to apply the story above.)
Sometimes you have to leave something you’ve known for a long time—a house, a school, or a job–and you aren’t sure how it’s going to go.
You might wonder, What’s it going to be like? What if I don’t like it? Who will I know? What will I do?
What would make it easier to say goodbye to something old and say hello to something new?
Some ideas to start with:
- Take something familiar with you (i.e. stuffed animal, favorite backpack, put your old posters up in your new room)
- Remember that “different and new” only lasts for a while. Soon it won’t seem different or new anymore.
Even though everything might be new and might be different, Jesus said he is the “same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). His presence is constant. Just like Abraham and Sarah had faith, you can have faith too. You can believe he will be with you and turn new things into an adventure.
Just for Parents
(Points to ponder for parents)
When someone–whether that’s your boss, pastor, spouse—asks us to do something, we often want an explanation (preferably with rationale that lines up with our own). We want to know what’s going to happen and how.
1. When God asks you to do something, which of the following best describes your response?
I don’t think so. • Well, I guess so, but I don’t feel like it • But why? • Got to think about this first.
2. Has God ever asked you to do something you didn’t understand, to take a first step without knowing the next step? What was your response?
3. Asking questions isn’t necessarily wrong. What’s the difference between a faith-filled question and a doubt-filled question? Compare Luke 1:11-19 and Luke 1:30-35.
Copyright © Carol Garborg