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.

 

Free to Rest

For use: August 15 – 21, 2021

Texts: Mark 2:1–12; 1 Kings 18; 1 Kings 19:1–8; Matthew 5:1–3; Isaiah 53:4–6; 2 Kings 2:11

 

“I’ve had enough.”

These words uttered by the great prophet Elijah (1 Kings 19:4) have perhaps never resounded more strongly across space and time than they do in our current age of social unrest, political instability, and health uncertainties. Afghans seek refuge from Taliban rule, Haitians hurry to find loved ones claimed by a massive earthquake as a tropical storm weaves through the country, and the Delta variant leaves small businesses gasping for air as hospitals overflow with COVID victims.

It’s times like these that have people pulling their hair out and wanting to run away from the challenges this world poses. Although the Scriptures remind us to hand our fear to God, even Moses and Elijah fell victim to bouts of anxiety, so it seems like we have a right to freak out. Fortunately, no one better understands that than our empathetic Creator.

As Jesus walked the earth, He not only witnessed many horrors but also lived them (Isaiah 53:4-6), losing a close friend, His city, and ultimately His life. He, too, sought refuge from the sins of the world, another way out, when He pleaded “Take this cup away from Me” (Luke 22:39-46).

God knows what it is to tire from worry, and provides the rest we need to regroup and face the world with a renewed–refreshed–perspective. Christ was able to rest in the grave before reconvening with His disciples and giving them the Great Commission (Matthew 28). Likewise, God granted the exhausted and terrified Elijah rest, food and drink (1 Kings 19:1-8) before Elijah resumed the crusade against Ahab and Jezebel. But it took Elijah’s and Christ’s trust in the unchanging, loving and generous Deliverer to make this rest possible.

We’re all more than a little tired, and ready to shout “I’ve had enough, Lord!” God is waiting with our pillows and bedding in hand. We just need to open our eyes to see it.


For Reflection

Connecting: Do we sometimes overwork ourselves, toiling all the days of our life, for the honor and glory of God? How do we start selecting what’s most important rather than trying to accomplish all that is presented to us? Where do we strike the balance between rest and work?

Sharing: What is today’s greatest threat to spiritual well-being, or trust in God? Why?

  1. Terrorism
  2. Political unrest
  3. Natural disasters and/or arsons
  4. Different faith beliefs
  5. Substance abuse
  6. Broken relationships
  7. Other

Applying: Feeling overworked? If you are meeting with family, friends, or even your small group, you may wish to form a charity-train. For example, you could assist Sally with maintaining her lawn this week, and the next week Sally helps Adnan with a DIY project, and the following week Adnan picks up that item for you from across town that you need. If people are in too short supply to form a charity-train, you may seek to help run errands for someone you know this week.

Valuing: What is something you’re tired of running from? Remember that God understands your feelings, then ask that your fear/anxiety/despair be relieved and that you may see the results in a tangible way.

~ Stefani Leeper

Photo credit: https://bensonbaptist.org/zoom/

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