Tuesday, June 25, 2013

24/6 (Book Review)

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."

It's the only commandment that beings with the word remember - almost as if God knew we would forget.

Well, guess what?

We did. 

 So says Dr. Matthew Sleeth on his book 24/6: A prescription for a healthier, happier life. And he's right.

I knew I agreed with the premise of his book before I picked it up. I've actually been trying to more actively keep the Sabbath - to set aside one whole day a week and rest (some weeks that is Saturday, some weeks that is Sunday, but I try to make one of those days happen a week). Total break. No doing housework or anything like that. Even hobby stuff is taboo if its going to be tiring.

When God created the world, he "created [everything] out of nothing, but on the morning of the seventh day, God makes nothing out of something. Rest is brought into being." (pg 23)

I'd never thought of that.

Who spoke the light into shining and the earth into spinning and the creeping, crawling things into crawling? God! How? That's not the point. Imagine an infinite God creating for six infinitely glorious days, and then on the seventh day he rests. We don't know the details. ...

The point is that something very important about the character of God is revealed on the seventh day: God stops.

Stopping is a problem for humans. We get a comfortable house, and then we want a bigger one. We get enough to eat and then we want more.

God doesn't need to rest after creating the universe because he's tired. He rests because he is holy, and everything that God does is holy. God rests. God is holy. Therefore, rest is holy. It's simple math.

Rest shows us who God is. He has restraint. Restraint is refraining from doing everything that one has the power to do. We must never mistake God's restraint for weakness. The opposite is true. God shows restraint; therefore, restraint is holy. (pg 32-33)

Resting. Restraint from work. Holy. It's true, but I'd never thought of that before.

When I began to take one day off every week, I was not a follower of Christ. Yet I found a spiritual benefit. I wanted to share the wonderful aspects of the day with the people I worked with in the hospital. I found that we were  great about listening to one another's tales of woe, over-work, purchases, action-packed vacations, and failing marriages, but we didn't have the language to talk about quiet, relaxation, love, and rest. The church often shies away from these topics as well. (pg 165)

You know, it's true - when was the last time we asked someone else what they did to relax that weekend? But look - even there "what did you DO to relax" - we're wired to constantly think in the active state. What about were you able to relax? Are we comfortable even thinking about just resting?

Many people describe a feeling of dread and anxiety when they think about spending time in quiet or alone. ... they experience boredom. ...

I believe the negative emotions and feelings we experience when we come to a stop are a barometer of our comfort with God. Are we truly bored by being alone with God in the midst of his glorious creation? Perhaps it is not God, the times, or the world that are boring. Maybe it is us. (pg 167)
Maybe never resting makes us boring - makes us unable to appreciate the interesting world we live in. We are made to be intimate with God, and the Sabbath helps to facilitate that. God set the example for us to rest and told us to follow that example. I believe this is something we should try and reclaim. Not to be legalistic about it as the Pharisees were, but to get back to what God said about the Sabbath, and not what man thinks...or is currently popular.

I don't agree with everything Dr. Sleeth says in his book, but I think the heart of the book is spot on, and he does make some excellent points.

I also really enjoyed his stories from his time in the OR and ER (don't worry, they're not gross). I found them very relatable and kept relating them back to stories my sister tells (she's an OR nurse). If you don't know that kindof background, though, his stories stand illustratively on their own. 

I think this is a book that many need to read. If people take it heart, it could honestly revolutionize our culture.

I read this book as a part of the Tyndale Summer Reading Program (which I explain in detail along with the  TyndaleRewards.com program here, if you are interested in signing up for Tyndale Rewards, you can do so here.) This post does contain my affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I may receive compensation for referring business. Thank you for your support! All opinions are my own.

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