Preparing for Change

This is a tool for you to use if you lead a Sabbath School (SS) class or small group. It is keyed to the Bible texts used in the current week’s Adult SS Lesson and includes a brief story from current news you can use to introduce the discussion and then a series of discussion questions in a relational pattern designed to build fellowship and spiritual reflection.

Texts: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Genesis 2:24, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 1 Samuel 1:27, Psalm 71, 1 Corinthians 15:24-26

Nothing is quite so satisfying as biting into a delicious piece of your favorite food—like crunchy almonds, gooey pizza, a ripe peach, or perhaps chocolate candy. But did you know that as you age, your ability to taste food begins to decrease? It’s a change many of us don’t anticipate.

Taste happens through a number of factors—we see food, we smell its aroma, and even the texture and temperature of our first bite can enhance taste. “Unfortunately, this means that losing any of our senses, particularly smell or taste, can reduce our enjoyment of food,” explains Anita Setarehnejah, Senior Lecturer in Food Science and Technology at Cardiff Metropolitan University, in a recent article titled “How Our Sense of Taste Changes as We Age.” [1]

She goes on, “The way we perceive taste starts to change by the age of 60—when the sensitivity of our sense of smell also starts to diminish—becoming severe from the age of 70.” One reason is poor chewing. People with ill-fitting dentures cannot break down food compounds which reduces “the dissolution of the food compounds in saliva and reduces the contact levels with the sensory receptors in the taste buds.”

Other factors that contribute to a loss of taste as we age include a decline in saliva secretion, the use of certain medicinal drugs, damage through smoking, and generally poor health. But not everyone loses their sense of taste as they age. Anita states, “Our preliminary research, for example, has indicated that keeping a healthy diet, an active lifestyle, and ensuring a low to moderate consumption of the five tastes—sweet, sour, salt, umami and bitter—could help to slow down the changes in papillae.”

This week’s Sabbath school lesson, titled “Preparing for Change,” reminds us that at every stage of life we experience alterations—some are expected and some are a jolting surprise. The Scriptures provide both examples of these changes in the lives of its diverse characters, but also gives us helpful advice to cope with the many seasons we experience in our journey through life.

With preparation, we may anticipate difficult changes in life in such a way that we minimize our losses and maximize our enjoyments—God-given pleasures of family, friends, and even food! Even when we experience devastating changes that turn our world upside down, we may rest in the Lord’s unchanging love for us. Someday, all the sad changes we have known will be made right.



For Reflection

Connecting: On a piece of paper, draw two columns with the headings “Positive Changes” and “Difficult Changes.” Write a half dozen examples of each underneath each column, then circle a positive change you are especially grateful for and a negative change that you find challenging at this time in your life.

Sharing: One exciting change in life is marriage. What suggestions do you think most help this change to be positive when choosing a life mate? Can you match that tip with a Bible verse?

  1. Make sure you are compatible in several areas of your life.
  2. Wait until you are mature enough to be married.
  3. Choose to marry someone you can completely trust.
  4. Avoid someone who must always be “right.”
  5. Consider the wisdom of your parents (or other godly people) on finding a mate.
  6. Other…

Applying: Pick a life change (marriage, parenting, major illness, new job, death of loved one) and write down six tips for managing that change using the acronym C.H.A.N.G.E. for each idea.

Valuing: Are you experiencing a difficult change in your life right now? What one thing do you believe you need to do to help you with that change? Pray with one other person about this challenge and seek God’s wisdom and strength.