Summary: Failure to function as God designed us can lead to burnout or a wasted life. But with a life-giving rhythm of rest and work that is anchored in and attuned to Jesus, our life can be sustainably fruitful.
God’s Mission: The redemption & restoration of all things through Jesus Christ.
Big Idea: Through a rhythm of work and rest that is anchored in Jesus, our lives are able to produce sustained fruitfulness in God’s Mission.
Ice-breaker question: Have you had time in your life where you were worn down by work? Were there other times when you felt like you were being unproductive?
Background: The following passage describes the capstone of God’s creative work on Day Six, the creation of the first human beings, and the conclusion to that work: rest on Day Seven.
Bible scholars have explained “the image of God,” which all human beings bear, in various ways. What is important in this concept is that humans are created with special characteristics that enable them to connect with and “mirror” God in a way no other kind of being can.
Breen and Kallestad invite us to think of the image of God as being like a handprint in memory foam (or concrete). Only the original hand can fit in that imprint. Likewise, we were designed to have the hand of God in our lives, and things go awry when we try to fill that imprint with something other than God’s hand.
Read: Genesis 1:26-2:3, 15
- In whose image are we made?
- What, if any, connection might there be between work and fruitfulness?
- At the close of the sixth day, what does God say about all that He had made?
- When God rested on the seventh day after completing His work of creation, what does that indicate about the value of rest?
- Human beings were created on the sixth day and begin their life in this world by resting on the seventh. What are some possible reasons why it would be better to rest first, then work, instead of the other way around?
- We read in verse 2:15 that God put the first man in the Garden of Eden to work and take care of it. Note that this happened before the Fall. What does this say about work? Was work originally intended by God to be a good thing or a bad thing?
- Things are different after the Fall. Read Genesis 3:17-19. What is work often like now as a consequence of sin?
Background: Jesus uses the word-picture of a grapevine and its branches to illustrate our relationship with Him and the way that we are able to be fruitful through our connection to Him. The grapevine-branches illustration also speaks to the rhythm of pruning and fruit-bearing. Grape branches need to be pruned, usually in the dormant season, a time of rest, in order to be fruitful in the growing season, a time of growth.
Read: John 15:1-8
- Who is the true vine?
- Why is it important to remain connected to the true vine?
- Who is the gardener? What does the gardener do?
In this passage, the word “abide” is key. (Some translations use the word “remain.”) “Abide/remain” indicate staying still, staying connected, and resting. It is during our time of abiding in Jesus that our Father God prunes unnecessary things out of our life, things that distract or draw us away from Him and His call for us to be fruitful. Also, during this time, God prepares and equips us for the productive growing season that will come later. Times of abiding can be frustrating because it seems like nothing is happening. But it is during these times that God is building a foundation that will support the fruitfulness He will bring in the future.
- Have you ever gone through an unintentional time of abiding/remaining? What was that like for you? What happened later on?
- What are some ways that you could intentionally build a pattern of regularly abiding in Jesus into your life?
This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on Jan 12/20 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC. It is based on A Passionate Life and The Passionate Church both by Mike Breen and Walt Kallestad.