Lesson: Keeping the Sabbath

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How can students spend time with God on this special day? Includes a teaching guide and 3 games.

Needed: exercise instruction cards

Intro Game: Extreme Exercise Race

Have students pair up and complete this race together. All the students will line up by pairs on one side of your play area. Spaced out in a direct line in front of each pair, you’ll place a series of cards. The cards could say things like, “Do 10 Pushups!” “Do 5 Sit-Ups!” “Do 10 Jumping Jacks!” “Hop On One Foot 10 Times!” “Hop On the Other Foot 15 Times!” “Walk Like a Crab for 5 Seconds!” Arrange the cards randomly on the line so that different pairs of students are doing different activities at each location in their line. The first pair to complete all of their activities wins.

Afterward, ask, Are you tired? Too bad! Back to the starting line. (Have students repeat the race in spite of groans.)

Now, are you tired? Who wants to do it again? Who wants to rest?

It’s good to work hard, but we also need time to rest.


Ask students, Does anyone remember why God gives us rules? (God gives us rules because He loves us. The rules He gives us are meant to protect us and others.)

Has anyone here ever heard of the word “workaholic”?

What is a “workaholic”? (Someone who works too much and doesn’t take time to relax.)

What happens if someone works too much? (Lead students into realizing that if someone works too much, they don’t have enough time for other things, such as spending time with their family or going to church. Also, they can get tired and grumpy when they don’t take time to relax.)

You’re probably not workaholics because you don’t have jobs yet, but I wonder if any of you ever feel too busy. What are some of the things you all have to do. (Go to school, do homework, extracurricular activities, chores, spend time with different sides of the family, etc.)

(Have a student read Exodus 20:8-11 , quoted here in the NIV.)

“Remember the Sabbathday by keeping it holy.9Six days you shall labor and do all your work,10but the seventh day is a sabbathto theLordyour God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.11For in six days theLordmade the heavens and the earth,the sea, and all that is in them, but He restedon the seventh day.Therefore theLordblessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

God says to keep the Sabbath day holy and not to work on the Sabbath. What day of the week is the Sabbath?

The Sabbath used to be on Saturday, but now, since Jesus rose from the dead on aSunday, we made Sunday to be our Sabbath day.

God says that we are to keep the Sabbath day, Sunday, holy to the Lord. What do we do to make Sunday holy? What special thing do we do on Sundays?

We come to church. Coming to church is how we make the Sabbath day holy to God. God wants us to come to church and worship and learn about Him on Sundays.

God also says not to work on the Sabbath. He wants us to rest. Why do you think God wants us to rest?

God knows that people can get too busy and He wants us to remember that we have to take time to rest so that we don’t get too tired and so that we can make sure we have enough time to spend time going to church and spending time with our families and things like that.

So, the Sabbath is a day to worship God and to rest.

Game: Alex and Alicia

Help students apply the lesson by giving advice to two fictitious students. Tell students that you’re going to them a short story. Then, they’ll have to decide what the character in the story should do.

Story #1: Alex’s Little League Temptation. A coach for the little league football team came to Alex’s school today and talked to the students about playing football for him. Alex thinks playing little league football would be really fun, and a lot of the other boys in his class are going to sign up to be on the team. The only thing is that their games are going to be on Sunday morning and Alex would have to miss church to play in the game.

What should Alex do? Should he sign up to be on the team?

(No. God says wehave to keep the Sabbath day holy as a day to worship and learn about Him. Alex can’t miss church to play on the football team because that would be breaking the Sabbath.)

Story #2: A Vacation from God?! Alicia’s parents want to go on vacation this weekend, but if they go, they’ll miss church on Sunday because they’ll still be on vacation. Alicia’s dad says that it’s okay if they miss church this once because they can read a Bible story and pray together Sunday morning while they’re on vacation, but Alicia’s parents want to know what she thinks.

What should Alicia do? Should she go on vacation or stay home so she can go to church?

(Alicia can go on vacation. The Sabbath day is a day holy to God for us to worship and learn about Him. And most of the time God wants us to be in church, but it’s okay to sometimes to miss church if we’re going to worship God in another way. We don’t have to be in church to worship God. We can worship and learn about God anywhere.)

Story #3: The Sleepover. A few months later, Stephanie called Alicia on the phone and invited Alicia to spend the night with her. But Alicia was worried. It was a Saturday and she knew she had church the next day. She told Stephanie that she probably couldn’t because she would have to miss church if she spent the night with her. But then Stephanie said that it would be okay because her family goes to church, too, and Alicia could just go to church with her family in the morning.

What should Alicia do? Should she stay home and go to her own church or should she spend the night at Stephanie’s and go to Stephanie’s church?

(Alicia can go to Stephanie’s church. The Sabbath day is a day holy to God for us to worship and learn about Him. And most of the time God wants us to have our own church that we usually go to, but it’s okay to sometimesmiss our church if we’re going to go visit another church. What matters most is that we’re worshiping and learning about God.)

Game: Acting It Out

Divide students into groups of three or four. Have each group decide on and act out one part of your church service. After each group, briefly discuss why your church includes that in its weekly worship. Point out that doing those actions are part of the way you make the Sabbath a holy day.

Closing Prayer

Father, thank You for giving us a day to rest and learn about You. Help us to always follow Your command and keep the Sabbath day holy.

This lesson is included in my book, The Lord’s Top Ten: Children’s Sunday School Lessons on the Ten Commandments.

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