Monday, September 23, 2013

REST. IT APPARENTLY DOESN'T MEAN REST.

Have you ever heard anyone at the office remark ... perhaps after a particularly busy weekend, or even a vacation ... that they were glad to get back to the office so they could get some rest? I sure have, and have even said that, myself.

In most cases, particularly for us Believers, I don't think that ought to be.

THE GOSPEL PROJECT, the Lifeway Sunday School material that was introduced a year or so ago, is currently, in our case, in the middle of a series highlighting what man was created to do. More about that in a second.

First, though, I love the material. Generally, the lessons contain three main points, each substantiated by one or more scripture passages. On occasion, the scripture cited in the material doesn't really substantiate the point the lesson is trying to make, forcing the teacher to dig into scriptures and find verses that do make the point. And that's one of the things I really, really like about the material. It's challenging to teach, but more than worth the effort, as the points made in the lessons are really, really worth making.

Oh .. TGP's managing editor, Trevin Wax, is always most gracious when I write him to tell him about things I note about the lesson material.

Back to the lessons.

Yesterday's lesson ... Session 4 of the Fall Series, concerns the truth that man was created to rest. Session 3 focused on the scriptural truth that man was created to work, so Session 4 was a natural follow-up. Included in the scripture references were multiple passages in Genesis, and the conclusion I'm forced to reach, after reading them all, is that we're really supposed to rest on our Sabbath. Which, of course, we observe on Sunday. I even cited the Exodus passage in which God was quite clear that His followers were not even to tolerate any work on Sunday by their slaves, or even sojourners in the midst. Nor by their animals!

But rather than the prohibitions, focus on the instructions as to what we're supposed to do on our Sabbaths. And I don't think that needs to be Saturday, as Genesis indicates the land is to observe a Sabbath rest one year out of seven.

That passage wasn't referring to Saturday. Also, let's face it, Monday is really the start of our week, anyway.

Back to what we're supposed to do: REST. I looked up several verses where that word appears in verses concerning observance of the Sabbath. And I found that they all use a word meaning, to settle down, rest, be calm, etc.

Then, I wondered, what did God say that He did on Sabbath day, after creation was complete? Well, He says He did nothing but rest.

Do we do that? I know that our observance of our "Sabbath" includes Bible teaching and corporate worship, and in light of the commands to stimulate one another to love and good works, assembling together in the process, I suppose that's OK. But I noticed, yesterday, that there were nine other activities, scheduled in our Bulletin, for Sundays, besides Sunday School, worship services, and the 6:30am prayer meeting.

Not one of those things is anything that couldn't be done on another day. We'll take our kids to practice baseball or football or dance or whatever on Saturday, or a weekday evening; why can't those other "church" activities be done at one of those times, too?

Or could it be that churches are prone to fill up the time with things to do, and Sunday has become Churchday, and Sunday is fair game for anything done in our buildings?

It's changed my mind on one thing. I'm planning a new class called "Conversational Christianity", helping people lose their fear of starting a conversation with someone, about Spiritual matters. And giving them the tools to know what to do once they start that conversation. It was going to be a Sunday Class, but not any more. We're going to start in January, on Wednesday nights.

Sundays? I figure it's time for me to start doing as much of what God told us to to that day, as I can.

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