Discussion Guide for The Gift of Rest for Blue Collar Workers

Small Group Study / Produced by partner of TOW
Gift of rest

These discussion questions relate to Kent Duncan’s sermon: The Gift of Rest for Blue Collar Workers. Learn more about his integrated outreach to blue collar workers by reading his thesis: Facilitating Marketplace Ministry in a Blue-Collar Context.

Tell us something about yourself by answering one of the following questions:

  1. Recognizing that leisure and Sabbath are two different things, what is your favorite leisure activity, hobby, or pastime?
  2. What’s the weirdest “Sabbath rule” you’ve ever heard of?
  3. As a worker made in the image of God, how do you observe Sabbath for yourself? With others? Why?
  4. What do others know about your Sabbath and why you practice it?

Discussion Questions relating to this week’s sermon: The Gift of Rest for Blue Collar Workers

Note: while considering these questions, please remember: Sabbath observance is more than just church attendance.

  1. Bruce Waltke says, “In the first six days, space is subdued; on the seventh, time is sanctified.” What seems distinct to you about the seventh day versus the other six?
  2. All sorts of labor-reducing, time saving devices have been created in recent decades. Recent advancements have made communication almost instantaneous. The internet puts information, education, social connection, household services, and entertainment at our fingertips. Still, many people seem more pressed for time than ever. What does our practice of Sabbath say to an increasingly time-crunched culture? How can our practice of Sabbath affect us as we seek to live God-honoring lives in that same culture?
  3. On the seventh day, God rested, marking His work of creating and establishing a patter for Sabbath rest. Israel, newly created by God, testified to her unique standing with God through the same. Jesus himself faithfully observed the Sabbath (Luke 4:16). How important is it for us, as a “new creation” in Christ, to develop a life marked by Sabbath rest?
  4. Since Sabbath has to do with “ceasing,” Sabbath-related questions often center on what that means – on a suitable definition of work not to be done. Tilden Edwards suggests that “the principle involved here… is not so much the physical nature of an activity but its purpose.” If the restful intent of Sabbath time is to recognize our dependence on God, what kind of work (or other activity) can be done on a day of Sabbath rest?
  5. Sabbath, according to Willem VanGemeren, is not a word that refers to “remedying exhaustion after a tiring week of work. Rather, it describes the enjoyment of accomplishment, the celebration of completion.” How does this truth inform your understanding and practice of Sabbath rest?
  6. People develop and express personal identity in a variety of ways. In what ways do you see a commitment to Sabbath observance developing your identity? In what ways does Sabbath observance express your identity? How would this be different from the ways other people express and build their identities?
  7. In the New Testament book of Hebrews, the author announces that “the promise of entering his rest still stands” (Hebrews 4:1) and encourages believers to “make every effort to enter that rest” (Hebrews 4:11). Harold Dressler suggests that, even at creation, the Sabbath was “an eschatological*, proleptic** sign indicating some future rest.” In what ways does practicing Sabbath rest today anticipate the Sabbath rest promised eternally through Christ? *eschatological: dealing with ultimate or final things; with Christianity, having to do with the destiny of humanity, the Second Coming, or the Last Judgment. ** proleptic: the representation or assumption of a future act or development as if presently existing or accomplished.
  8. In what ways might you view your work – and your rest – differently this week in light of these Scriptures?