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.
For use: July 25 – 31, 2021
Texts: Matthew 11:20-30; Matthew 5:5; Deuteronomy 18:15; Galatians 5:1; Exodus 18:13-22; Galatians 6:2
Apps, hacks, and programs promising techniques to help us get good rest greet us almost anytime we turn on or read media. Our phones and watches keep track of how we are sleeping and what kind of rest we experience each night.
This is a profitable business because many of us are exhausted. We long for more than the busy schedules that leave so many feeling depleted. In fact, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than one-third of adults in America sleep less than the recommended seven hours per night. Yes, many of us do have schedules bordering the impossible, but perhaps there is more to it than just physical rest.
Jenna Bush Hager, a Today show anchor, shared a letter from her oldest child, Mila, age 8, who was away at camp for the first time. The letter began, “Dear Mom and Dad, I miss you. I wish I could be with you.” The postscript carried the clincher. “P.S. Daddy, how much longer ’till you pick me up? I miss you too much.” 
This week, we study a promise of rest but also a promise that answers the question, “Daddy, how much longer ’till you pick me up?” Rest means so much more than a full night’s sleep or a power nap. What Jesus promises here is exactly what the young camper in the story longed for. It is presence.
Jesus first offers the invitation to “Come.” Then we are reminded whom the invitation is for: those who are weary and carry heavy loads. Next, Jesus gives the promise of rest.
Does that sound appealing to you? Rest, presence, and then continuing on with a lighter, be it a different load. It seems hard to understand how anyone could resist that invitation. How could anyone turn down that offer?
Imagine the reunion at the end of camp when Mila runs to her daddy and is swept up in his arms. Our promise offers that to us too. “Come to me. . .” And Jesus will scoop us up in those arms of presence.
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Connecting: Try to recall a time when you needed rest or comfort. If you are willing, share how or by whom that rest was provided.
Sharing: In considering the advice in Galatians 5:1, what meaning or meanings do you think apply to us today?
- Slavery should not be a part of our world again.
- Christ wants us to have freedom from anything that can separate us from God.
- Slavery, in this context, refers to what can keep us from being free to follow Christ.
- We should always do things on our own, being firm not to rely on anyone … even God.
- The text is referencing Israel’s captivity and is only meaningful in its historical context.
Applying: Galatians 6:2 encourages us to carry each other’s burdens or to help each other. As you think of family, church family, or community members, is there something you could do for someone who may be struggling or could use something to help lift their burdensome load?
Valuing: One way to experience relief from burdens is prayer. What conversations could you have with God about things that burden you or others? Attempt those conversations this week.
~ Joy Veverka
Photo credit: https://bensonbaptist.org/zoom/