Friday, June 14, 2019

Outdoor Object Lesson 100: Worth of An Earthworm



Key Text

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?... But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people.” Psalms‬ ‭22:1,6 (‬WEB‬‬)

Lesson

Do you like earthworms? They seem kind of plain and ordinary. They are probably not the first animal you would choose to keep as a pet. They don’t play with you. They are not especially cute or cuddly. In fact, you might even think they are gross and slimy. To most people, worms are not very important. They are at the bottom of the food chain. Birds eat them for food and humans use them as fish bait. What does an earthworm eat? Just dirt.1 In the Bible, worms represent the lowest order. They are the most insignificant and least important.

We see this in the Key Text where King David says he feels like a worm. He feels insignificant and worthless. He feels like he does not matter. He feels depressed. Have you ever felt doubt or depression? You have probably been teased or felt bad about yourself like King David. You may have even thought you were worthless. Depression is a real concern. It can affect children as young as preschool age.2 Depression is more than just sadness. It is a constant feeling that you don’t matter and that you are less valuable than other people. It can even lead some people to harm themselves.

One of my youth group members named Sam once told me a story about a friend of his named James that experienced depression. Sam and James were both in middle school. James often said negative things about himself. Sam and their other friends sometimes teased James and made fun of him. One day they had been teasing him through most of recess. James kept dropping the basket ball during a game. Finally he was so mad at himself he went to the wall and started beating his head against it and calling himself stupid until his forehead was bleeding. The principal had to intervene. James was depressed and felt so worthless he felt like he needed to hurt and punish himself. Thankfully, he was able to get help from a counselor.

King David also felt depressed. He cried out to God and told him he didn’t even feel like a human anymore. He felt as worthless as a worm. But worms are actually not worthless. Earthworms are very important. As you may already know, earthworms help make soil good for growing plants. They are important in a garden because they turn compost into good fertilizer.1 They may be at the bottom of the food chain but they are still very important. King David took his feelings to God who answered his prayer. King David discovered that God loves us and values us more than anything. That’s why a few verses after the Key Text King David said, “...you have answered me. I will declare your name to my brothers. Among the assembly, I will praise you.” Psalms‬ ‭22:21-22‬ ‭(WEB‬‬)

You may feel as low as a worm sometimes. But even worms are important. And God values you much more than any worm. After all he died for you. When you feel sadness, doubt, or depression, I encourage you to tell God. He understands. I also encourage you to tell a person. If you are not an adult yet tell a parent, teacher, or pastor. If you are grown, tell a close friend. Get help from a professional counselor no matter how old you are. Most importantly, talk to God about your feelings every day. He wants to hear so that he can answer your prayers. Then you can proclaim with David, “I will praise you.”

Questions

Have you ever felt like you don’t matter to God?

What types of things make you feel doubt about yourself?

Does feeling depressed just mean you have weak faith?

Is it ok to get help from a pastor or counselor when you feel doubt or depression? Is it ok to take medication for it? (The answer is yes, read this article for more info) https://www.focusonthefamily.com/lifechallenges/emotional-health/anxiety-disorders-frequently-asked-questions

What are some strategies you can use to cope with feelings of doubt and depression?

Sources
1: National Geographic Society, “Common Earthworm,” National Geographic online, (2019), accessed June 2, 2019 from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/c/common-earthworm/.
2: Mary Elisabeth Dallas, “Depression can start as young as preschool, study finds,” CBS News online, (August 6, 2014) accessed June 2, 2019 from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/depression-can-start-as-young-as-preschool-study-finds/.



Written by David F. Garner
Photo source: Natfot via www.pixabay.com

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