Imagine what your life might be like if you stopped. everything. for. an. entire. day: all work and school obligations, all housekeeping duties, all shopping. For our household, that would mean saying no to some children's activities, not doing that extra half-day of work, even turning off social media. With the rare exception of a vacation day, a full day of rest seems radical for our household. Perhaps it does to yours too. Even families who faithfully attend worship services often shuttle off to spend the rest of their Saturday or Sunday doing something else.
An emergency room physician turned Christian author prescribes a day of rest -- a sabbath -- for each of us, no matter how busy or important we think our roles may be. "Sabbath is a time to transition from human doings to human beings. It is a day to celebrate a God who makes time for us to be with him," writes Matthew Sleeth in his new book titled 24/6. Sleeth boldly asserts that the conveniences and efficiencies of our 24/7 world don't benefit us as much as we'd like to think. Instead, our egos and anxieties on overdrive prevent us from stopping long enough to connect with the very source of life itself.
If you're feeling overworked and always have the pile of laundry to put away like I do, perhaps it seems impractical to take a full day of rest. When will things get done? Maybe your family has been struggling with job layoffs or working extra hours to ensure job security. Sleeth assures a sabbath can help. "Resting is even more necessary in uncertain times," he writes. "It helps us remember that God is in control and that our identity is not dependent on the work we do." As a physician, he's sure to point out that a slower paced day might even be better for our health.
The author writes several analogies inspired by his earlier days in the ER. He includes extensive scriptural references. He makes the case for remembering the Fourth Commandment, explaining why we still need it and giving suggestions for finding time again for the sabbath. While his book is steeped in the Judeo-Christian tradition, it includes a universal message about living whole lives worthy of a nurturing day of rest.
Sleeth and his wife, Nancy are founders of the Blessed Earth nonprofit organization that focuses on creation care. He also authored the popular book Serve God, Save the Planet.