Sabbath School Lesson for December 5-11, 2020

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Looking at work this week, we saw these topics addressed:

  • why we work (Sunday)
  • who benefits from work (Monday)
  • what kind of work is acceptable (Tuesday)
  • how does work affect our spirituality (Wednesday)
  • how is work a part of our Christian stewardship (Thursday)


Along with marriage and the Sabbath, work was a feature of life given mankind in the Garden of Eden. See Genesis 2:15. All three are somewhat related. The Sabbath was meant to give us rest from our labor, and Eve certainly made the work easier and more pleasant by sharing it with Adam.

There are indications that work and Sabbathkeeping will continue to be practiced in the earth made new (Isaiah 65:21 and 66:23). Although there are no specific texts regarding what marriage will be like in heaven, we might assume that it will also survive. We are told that some of our closest human bonds will continue in heaven. Paul describes being united with our loved ones at the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:17, 18)

Memory Text: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV

Even though we are now in that “in-between” time, after the Garden of Eden and before the new earth, we must see our work as necessary to prepare us for our future with the Lord. When we combine our work with our service to God, no matter what kind of work that might be, we can know that our work is not in vain. Its purpose is to draw us closer to our Creator and each other.

We have the examples of Jesus (working in Joseph’s carpenter shop) and Paul (working as a tentmaker alongside Priscilla and Aquila). They demonstrate to us that having a trade, any employment that is useful to others, is valuable to our physical lives and can even grow our spirituality.

Sunday: The Many Sides of Work

Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13 reminds us that work is meant for our enjoyment. It is a gift from God. A useful occupation, one where our God-given skills and interests contribute to satisfying the needs of people, is a most notable achievement.

No matter what our chosen field of employment, we can use it to uplift God and glorify His name in the world. People observe, not just the products of our labor, but our manner of getting the work done. Fellow employees or customers we come in contact with should be considered our field of labor for God. We are always providing them with a living example of what a Christian’s life looks like.

A job offers more than a reason for getting up in the morning. When we learn how to work God’s way, there is abundant satisfaction in whatever work our hands and minds find to do.

Bible Verses to Consider:

Genesis 3:19

  • How was Adam’s work affected after sin came into the world?

Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13 and 1 Corinthians 10:31

  • Many interpret the first passage to mean we can eat and drink all we want. How do we eat and drink with rejoicing, and still honor God with our lifestyle choices?

Monday: Work and Nurture

Self-efficacy means that something meaningful has been accomplished in our life. Our occupation, whatever that may be, should be an enjoyable blessing, to us and to others. The work of our hands and minds should make a difference in the lives of people.

Just being in the company of other workers and showing them how God is important to you can be fulfilling and make the work worthwhile. Look for ways to bless others you come in contact with at your job. There are many ways to make a difference and impact someone’s life, when you consistently invite God to show you how.

Work is meant to nurture us, but it’s even more fulfilling when it contributes to the nurture of others. Making lives easier, more manageable, and enjoyable should be our goal, no matter what we do to support ourselves.

Bible Verses to Consider:

Deuteronomy 16:15, Ecclesiastes 9:10, Proverbs 21:25, and Jeremiah 1:16

  • What counsel is given in each of these verses about the work of our hands?

Tuesday: Work and Excellence

We know that we are faulty humans, definitely capable of errors that often affect our work. However, we should be dedicated to making our work product as perfect as possible. Having a work ethic of excellence is what we should strive for every day. God is willing to bless our efforts and magnify the results of our labor, when we dedicate ourselves to Him.

God’s interest in work excellence was seen quite clearly in His attention to detail, when He laid out to Moses the plans to build the tabernacle in the wilderness. Beginning in Exodus 25 and continuing on for five chapters, the Lord sets out His detailed blueprint and instructions for the tasks involved.

Not only were the finest materials to go into the construction of the sanctuary, but God designated those workers who would receive the skills necessary for its completion, and gave them point-by-point instructions on how to do their work. He not only added to their talents, but even gave them the “ability to teach” others, so the work would continue as smoothly as possible. See Exodus 35:24 and 36:1.

God can stir our hearts and give us wisdom in dealing with our work issues too, just like He did for the Israelites. We have only to dedicate our talents, time, and education in ways that benefit others and point them to their Creator God. No task is too menial, or lowly, for God to use for His grand purposes.

Bible Verses to Consider:

Exodus 25:23-30

  • Why did God give such detailed instructions concerning the building of the sanctuary?

Exodus 36:1, 2

  • Why is it important to have our heart in the work of our hands?
  • How does God speak to our hearts, concerning our chosen occupations? And how has He spoken to your heart?

Wednesday: Work and Spirituality

For most of us, our occupation is a major part of our lives. It may not be a job or career, but however we occupy our time is an indication of who we are. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says if we are in Christ, we are a new creation. Others will notice that we are different, when we follow God and walk in His ways.

To be a spiritual person means that we will show the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). These desirable character traits will be seen by those at the workplace, and will hopefully draw others to God.

Spirituality is a way of life, and is designed to guide others to a truer understanding of who God is. We are making an impression for or against God, even when we are unaware that it is happening. As Paul wrote to the Galatians, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). Our actions do speak louder than our words. And it often happens wherever and whenever we engage in our lifework.

Bible Verses to Consider:

Galatians 5:22, 23

  • What does it mean by saying, “Against such, there is no law”?

1 Timothy 1:9

  • Who was the law made for?

Romans 3:10

  • Are any of us righteous?

Galatians 5:25 and Romans 8:5

  • Why are both actions and our thoughts involved in our walk with God?

Thursday: Work and Stewardship

Many see stewardship as our fiscal (monetary) responsibility to God. The returning and giving of tithes and offerings is certainly part of being good stewards of the Lord’s blessings to us.

But our responsibility goes beyond that token amount. It involves making the best of every part of our life, including our chosen work field. We don’t just dedicate one tenth of our increase to God. In reality, it should all be dedicated to Him. If the Lord has blessed us with talents, strength, intelligence that all make it possible to support ourselves, then we should consider how we can use those gifts for God’s cause.

Every area of our life–whether it be family life, spiritual life, work life, or even our leisure time–should be considered as we practice the presence of God. We must let Him be a part of it all.

Bible Verses to Consider:

Ecclesiastes 9:10

  • Why is it important to put all our efforts into whatever work we do?

1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:17

  • Why is everything we do a way to give God glory?
  • How does giving thanks contribute to doing things in God’s name?

Friday: Conclusion

In Genesis 3:17, God announced that the ground that Adam would work and till would be cursed. The work itself would continue to play a role in mankind’s development, however. There are still benefits from useful labor to this day.

Unfortunately, we have made work more difficult for ourselves by employing monotonous, tedious methods and by overworking ourselves and others. There is also a tendency to overvalue or undervalue the work we do.

Whatever our occupation, we must learn to put it into perspective and not make an idol of it. Working in partnership with God, we can be blessed by the growth and satisfaction that comes from the work of our hands.

Ecclesiastes 2:23 says, “For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.”

No wonder Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27). God knows we need rest, as well as useful labor.

Next Week: Sabbath: Experiencing and Living the Character of God

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