A Slower Pace
The Point: Rest is a gift from God.
Get Into the Study
Use the following story as an optional Question 1 and introduction to the session.
Ask: “What is the longest you have waited in line for food? What made you willing to wait that long?”
Hour long waits were recently reported at Popeyes upon the release of their new chicken sandwich. The popularity of the new sandwich seemed like a huge success … until they ran out. Just two weeks after the release, Popeyes announced the shortage, with a message on Twitter reading, “Y’all. We love that you love The Sandwich. Unfortunately we’re sold out (for now).” Some frustrated customers commented that they would be heading to other restaurants for their chicken sandwiches. It remains to be seen if the craze around the Popeyes chicken sandwich will ultimately prove profitable for the restaurant, or if the shortage will cause a loss of customers over the frustration. Either way, the scenario appears to have left the company scrambling and serves as a reminder—just because you are really busy now, does not mean you are headed for long-term success.
In this session, we will study God’s command to take a break from busyness, and to rest from striving, as we trust Him for our long-term good.
Study the Bible (Option)
After reading Exodus 31:12-14,
display a photo of a traffic light. Click here for an image.
Say: We’re all familiar with traffic lights. We know:
Green = Go
Red = Stop
Yellow = Caution
Discuss the consequences of ignoring a traffic light Ask: What if every light was always red or green? What kind of problems would that cause? Affirm that everything runs smoothly when we obey the lights like we’re supposed to. Share that the Sabbath is the “red light” in our spiritual lives. Say: We like green because we’re a culture on the move. But the Sabbath reminds us to stop every once in a while to refresh and restore our bodies, hearts, and minds.
Study the Bible (Option)
Live It Out
Share the following illustration as you conclude the session.
Do we really need fruits and vegetables? A case study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, describe a teenage boy who presented to his doctor at the age of 14 complaining of tiredness, but with no other significant signs of ill health. The boy was not overweight or taking medications. However, his limited diet of primarily potato chips and French fries had led to a deficiency in vitamin B12 and anemia. He was prescribed B12 injections and given diet advice. A picky eater, the boy continued with his limited diet. A year later he began to lose vision and by age 17 was legally blind.
According to Dr. Denize Atan, the study’s lead author, “This case highlights the impact of diet on visual and physical health, and the fact that calorie intake and BMI are not reliable indicators of nutritional status.”
We all know we should eat a well-balanced diet, but when we don’t see immediate effects from healthy or unhealthy eating, the advice is often ignored. Much more dangerous, though, is viewing God’s commands as merely suggestions or advice.
Rest is a gift from God, but it is also a command. God’s covenant with His people includes boundaries and commands, including the command for Sabbath rest. The purpose for these commands may not always be immediately evident, but we can trust that God’s commands are for our good. He created us and He knows what is best for us, including Sabbath rest.
Nikki Wilbanks grew up in Tennessee before heading to California to study literature at Pepperdine University. After graduation, she remained in Southern California, enjoying a decade-long career as a commercial real estate appraiser and investor. Having returned to Tennessee with her husband, she is now thrilled to be a stay-at-home mom, writer, and Bible study teacher.
- How did you get started with your favorite hobby?
- What would your ideal week of rest and relaxation include?
- How do you measure productivity?
- How would you describe your experiences with obeying the Sabbath?
- What are the reasons God commanded people to observe a day of rest?
- How would you convince someone that rest makes one more productive?
- How does observing the Sabbath influence our connection with God?
- What might need to change so that your Sabbath practices improve your relationship with God?
- How would you describe our culture’s attitude toward work in on world?
- What do you need to do this week to balance work and rest?
- When have you been especially blessed by the gift of rest?
- What boundaries do you feel you need to set up in your life to assure that you are obedient in the Sabbath?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: Simplicity, Session 5.