We are the most Christlike when we are serving and helping those who cannot help themselves.
The Discussion Starter:
A Brother’s Love
Meet Conner and Cayden Long.
When he was 6 years old, Conner began helping his little brother Cayden compete in triathlon events…even though Cayden was stricken with cerebral palsy at birth. Because of his tremendous handicap, Cayden is unable to do very much for himself and totally relies on those around him. Competing in the rigorous events would be out of the question were it not for a brother who loves him deeply. But several times each year, Conner straps his little brother Cayden in behind him in a cart or a boat and off they go. They never win, of course, but they compete together in perfect love.
For his efforts of love and athleticism, Sports Illustrated awarded Conner with their 2012 Sportskid of the Year award. Take a look at this incredible story.
The video can be found online at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J5UqYRxY48
It doesn’t matter who you are; watching that clip without tearing up a little bit is tough to do. That’s because we see such perfect love in the life of Conner, Cayden’s older brother. He acts so selflessly on behalf of Cayden because he knows Cayden can do nothing for himself. If Cayden is going to compete in a triathlon, it’s because Conner is there to help him. End of story. When I watch their story, I think about Jesus and His love for us. I also think about our responsibility to love others like Jesus loves. Here’s what I see in Scripture: we are the most like Christ when we are engaged in serving and helping those who cannot help themselves. Let’s spend a few minutes in Scripture being challenged by the example of Conner and Christ.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and how many siblings we have.
- ASK A FEW: How did you feel when you watched Conner and Cayden’s story?
- ASK A FEW: What were some of the things Conner and his family did for Cayden?
- ASK A FEW: How dependent on others is Cayden when it comes to racing in the events?
- ASK A FEW: How would the Long family’s life been different if mom and dad would have put Cayden in a home like the doctors advised them? Would their lives have been better or worse?
- ASK A FEW: At the awards show, Lebron James said he doesn’t have to preach to his own kids anymore and can just show Conner’s story instead. Why is one kid’s story of helping and serving others so impactful on other kids?
Read the following passage:
ASK A FEW: What are some of the things Paul tells us to do in this passage?
ASK A FEW: In verse 5, Paul says to have the same mind (or attitude) that Jesus Christ had. What does that look like?
ASK A FEW: According to this passage, what did Jesus do for us?
ASK A FEW: Why did Jesus have to die on the cross for our sins? Can’t we just pay the price for our own sins? (Leaders – This is probably the key question for the small group. The answer is, no, we cannot pay for our own sins and live. If we had to pay ourselves, it would be eternal separation from God. Only Jesus could pay for our sins and conquer death and atone for us all. He was perfect and yet paid the price for our sinfulness because of his great love for us. On the cross, Jesus did something for us that we could not do for ourselves. Through faith in Him we can have forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God. See Romans 6:23)
ASK A FEW: Besides Jesus, has anyone ever done something for you that you could not do for yourself? If so, how did that make you feel?
ASK A FEW: Paul says to be humble and consider others more significant than ourselves. What would happen if we actually did nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility counted others more significant than ourselves?
ASK A FEW: In what ways does Conner consider Cayden “more significant” than himself?
ASK A FEW: Conner said that if others would involve themselves in the lives of those with disabilities, it would open their eyes? What do you think?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: (3-in-1) Who is someone you need to help this week? What difference do you think it will make? What will happen if YOU don’t take action on their behalf?
Philippians 2:1-11 (ESV)
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In our time together, we’ve been challenged by the loving example of a 9-year-old kid, and of course, Jesus. Conner and Christ have something in common: they’ve done things for others that they could not do for themselves. For Conner, it was helping his disabled little brother compete in athletic events. For Jesus, it was dying on the cross so we could all be forgiven of our sin.
Conner and Jesus both give us tremendous examples to follow. Our call is crystal clear: we should consider others more significant than ourselves, and should take care of the interests of others. That’s what Conner and Jesus have done for those they love.
It’s amazing to me how a story of true, selfless love can capture the attention of our world. You and I get the opportunity to make headlines by helping and serving others, especially those that cannot help themselves! We’ve already talked about who those people are in our small groups. We’ve identified those in our own community that cannot help themselves. So my question to you is a simple one: what are you going to do for those who cannot help themselves? Who will you consider significant and whose interests will you take care of?
You don’t know where your acts of love and service will take you or that person. I sincerely hope that you will take quick action on behalf of those who need your love right now. It’s the best opportunity you might have of living like Jesus lived.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith