How Keeping the Sabbath and Getting Rest Furthers Our Happiness and Holiness

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We're overworked, stressed, constantly on the move. More than 90 percent of Americans stay connected to their mobile phones--which is to say, to their office--24/7.

Old news. In 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life (Tyndale), Matthew Sleeth, M.D., dashes off a prescription that is 3,500 years older: a return to the fourth commandment ("Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy").

As someone who has taken the dose, I have unexpected news to report. Halfway through, I felt so convinced of Sleeth's arguments for rest (and so exhausted from my previous Sabbath), I took a nap. Without guilt. My testimonial, then: 24/6 works!

Sleeth makes a winsome case for a return to Sabbath "rest, renewal and reverence." As the director of Blessed Earth and the author of Serve God, Save the Planet, he brings his dual expertise in eco-theology and medicine to the subject. A Sabbath, after all, is given to the land itself, and who would know more about workaholism than a former ER physician?

His diagnostic skills are on full display. We take comfort from our work obsession, he notes, because "[i]f work is the meaning of our lives, then more work equals more meaning." To balance hard work, we engage in hard play. But there's a biblical solution to our collective freneticism: work hard--then stop, a rhythm where "the work takes on more meaning and the stopping takes on holiness."

God's holiness is the very ground of the fourth commandment, the longest and most detailed commandment of the ten, Sleeth reminds us: "He rests because he is holy and everything that God does is holy .... Rest shows who God is."

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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Leslie Leyland Fields
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