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Sabbath School Lessons on Health & Healing
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 7: Rest and Restoration *
Introduction: "I'll rest when I'm dead." Have you ever heard that?
Ever said it yourself? Sometimes it feels that way to me. When I was
in law school, students seemed to study every day. I believed that I
should not work on Sabbath. It was a wonderful, guilt-free rest. God
blessed me for it and gave me better grades than my buddies who
studied every day. But, these days rest is more elusive. I still
refrain from secular work on Sabbath, but I teach this lesson and
sometimes preach. That seems to be as much work as anything I do
during the work week. Some pastors take off Monday, but I need to
work Monday. How do we balance work and rest? Let's jump into our
study and see what God has to say on the subject!
- Rest Defined
- What do you consider to be most restful? When you think
of rest what comes to mind? Read Matthew 11:28-30. What
kind of rest is Jesus offering to us? Is this spiritual
or physical or both?
- When I think about rest, I think about laying down.
This text talks about resting in a "yoke," - which
is a device to pull a load. How can putting on a
load-bearing device be considered "rest?" (It
assumes that we already have a burden ("come ... all
you who are ... burdened"). Jesus is offering to
share the effort of pulling our burden.)
- How, exactly, do we add Jesus as a partner in
carrying our burdens? (The text tells us to "learn"
from Jesus how to be gentle and humble.)
- What has that (being gentle and humble) have to
do with resting?
- For a few years now my wife and I have been in the
process of moving to the town where I teach. We have not
sold our old home and we have not purchased a new home in
the new town. My wife and I have our eyes on a very
impressive home that is for sale. When I consider the
cost, I think "Not much rest there!"
- Why would you or I buy an impressive home? (It has
to do with not being humble.)
- Can you see, now, why rest is linked to
humility? (As long as we are pushing to impress
those around us with our things, rest is not
- I started out asking you whether Jesus is offering
spiritual or physical rest. Has your opinion changed
after further consideration of this text? (The two are
linked. If our heart is right (we are humble) then
physical rest is easier.)
- Rest Essentials
- Read Matthew 4:23-25. Imagine Jesus' life. Was His life
like that of a movie star? (Yes, crowds followed Him.)
- How would you feel if you had Jesus' job? (Imagine
what a great thing it would be to heal severe pain,
paralysis and demon-possession. I'm sure the people
healed were ecstatic and grateful. It was a great
- Read Matthew 5:1. Has Jesus turned His back on those with
severe pain, paralysis and demon-possession? (Yes. He saw
the crowd coming and He headed for the mountains to
- Was it a sin to refuse to heal these needy people?
(Jesus lived a perfect life.)
- Is your job as important and compelling as Jesus'
- What does this teach us about our jobs and
rest? (We think that we are indispensable. We
think that others cannot get along without us.
We think that we cannot rest. Jesus shows us by
this example that sometimes we just need to sit
down and rest - even if there are compelling
reasons not to rest.)
- Is the attitude that we are indispensable
linked to the humility question we just
- Read Genesis 2:2-3. John chapter 1 reveals that Jesus was
the Creator. Even before Jesus took on human nature, He
rested. Do you think that the God who could speak the
universe into existence needed to rest? (I doubt it very
- So, why did Jesus rest? Why elevate rest to such a
degree that the rest day would be considered holy?
(He must have done it for us. God wanted humans to
- Read Mark 6:30-31. Is it wrong to be busy - so busy that
you do not have time to eat? (The text does not say that
being busy is wrong, it simply says that rest "in a quiet
place" is important.)
- Read Exodus 23:12. How widespread is the human need for
rest? (Assuming you have an animal which works - you need
to give it rest. Even the least valued in the society
(slaves and aliens) are entitled to rest.)
- Rest and Balance
- Read Luke 12:16-18. What do you think about this plan?
(It seems like a reasonable business plan.)
- What is the alternative? (Let his crops rot or give
- Read Luke 12:19. Do you want to retire as soon as
possible? What do you think about this farmer's plan?
- Read Luke 12:20-21. When I was a college kid, one of my
friends told me I should take a break from school, earn
money and have some fun. I refused, saying that my goal
was to be a lawyer and I needed to keep pushing on with
my schooling. My friend responded, "What if you get run
over by a truck?" I admitted that would be a problem for
- Isn't Jesus' parable a lot like my buddy who said
"What if you get run over by a truck?" (I did not
get run over by a truck (although I had a very close
call), and I soon had my doctorate in law. My buddy,
who was also not run over by a truck, never finished
- Does my experience show Jesus' parable is a
little unreasonable? Or, does Jesus have
another point? (Jesus explains His point in
verse 21 - don't be selfish with God.)
- How was the farmer not rich towards God? How
did this plan cheat God out of anything?
- Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Does this suggest an answer to
our questions about the farmer? (The farmer intended to
have an extended rest in which he would focus only on
- What does the Bible say that the rich (those who
don't need to work) should do? (They need to "do
good, to be rich in good deeds" and to be generous
and share their money. This tells us that we have an
obligation to God for both our time and our money.)
- What does this teach us about rest? (That rest
should come periodically. Resting all the time is
not God's plan.)
- Retirement Rest
- After reading the story of the farmer, you may have some
reluctance to retire. Is the idea of retirement
consistent with the Bible?
- Read Numbers 8:23-26. What does this suggest about God's
view of retirement? (At least as to the Levites, God took
them out of regular service at the age of 50.)
- Was that the end of work for them? (No. The Keil and
Delitzsch Commentary distinguishes the word "work"
from the phrase "assist their brothers." Work meant
labor, but this commentary argues that the Hebrew
word (mishmeret)means oversight, rather than just
assisting. Whether the NIV or this commentary have
the more correct view, the 50+ crowd was not laying
- What does this and the farmer story teach us about
retirement rest? (Laying down and watching
television all day is not the goal. At some point we
can (and should) reduce the extent of our physical
labor, but the ideal rest is to always stay in the
yoke with Jesus helping to advance the Kingdom of
- Friend, have you reached the right balance in life? Do
you have sufficient, but not too much, rest? If not, join
me in praying that God will aid you in moving towards
that right balance.
- Next week: The Atmosphere of Praise.
* Copr. 2010, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.