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.

 

Sabbath Rest

For use: August 29 – September 4, 2021

Texts: Genesis 1:26, 27; Genesis 9:6; 2 Peter 2:19; Romans 6:1–7; Exodus 19:6; John 5:7–16

 

As COVID-19 cases spike, especially with the Delta variant lurking around seemingly every corner, all eyes turn to healthcare workers once again. But sadly, many of them are leaving their profession due to burnout.

Fortunately, Sparrow Hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer, Amy Brown, checks in on her nursing staff to see if they are getting enough R&R. “How are you sleeping?” “Are you getting anything to eat?” and “How can we help?” top the list of questions she often asks them, but her affirmations for the team go beyond verbalizing concerns for their health. At Sparrow Hospital, exhausted healthcare workers can relax with a massage and some snacks in the Lavender Room. But perhaps most importantly, Brown finds that reminding them of their calling can be the greatest motivator.

Interestingly enough, Brown’s approach to R&R oddly mirrors the divine plan for regular rest laid before us in God’s Word. The Sabbath was to be the ultimate form of R&R, better than any Lavender Room this world can offer. It is on this day that we may rest from labor and reconnect with God. But of course, the Sabbath was also designed with a greater purpose.

As we see in John 5:1-11, Jesus, although likely physically tired from his travels, healed a man on the Sabbath. In another instance, Jesus healed a withered hand, declaring it lawful to do good on the Sabbath, and then proceeded to heal a multitude more! (Matthew 12:9-15)

By no means was Jesus saying that we should be slaves to working on the Sabbath, but that when we honor the true meaning of the Sabbath, the Sabbath becomes an outward sign that we belong to God. And if Jesus can find a holy purpose to break physical rest in pursuit of spiritual rest, joy, and fulfillment, then so can those made in Jesus’ image.


For Reflection

Connecting: Where do you draw the line between doing good on the Sabbath and using that as an excuse to pursue one’s own pleasures on the Sabbath?

Sharing: What makes the Sabbath so special to you?

  1. Sleep and rest
  2. Communion with God and/or other believers
  3. It’s a day to admire creation
  4. It’s a day to thank God for deliverance from Egypt and other evils
  5. It’s the day I get to best reflect God’s character
  6. Other:

Applying: Do you know someone who struggles accepting the idea that it’s lawful to do good on the Sabbath? If you feel comfortable doing so, pray for the Spirit to assist you in attempting a kind gesture for that person (or another person in need) on an upcoming Sabbath.

Valuing: Is preparing food on the Sabbath a sin? Compare Exodus 16:1-30 with Matthew 12:1-8. What makes the difference between the two scenarios? Take time to reflect on how you honor the Sabbath, and pray that your intentions are always aligned with the guidance of the Spirit.

~ Stefani Leeper

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

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