24/6 by Matthew Sleeth was just the book the doctor ordered. In today's world it always seems like go go go. And often people for get to slow down and rest. I'm guilty of that as much as the next person. But we need to remember that God gave us a day of rest and even though we feel the need to do we also just need to stop and be. To rest. 24/6 helps us to remember that.
In our busy world, many people have 24/7 lives and do not have time to rest. Dr. Matthew Sleeth discusses how our lives have gotten to this point and has ideas for how to have a day of rest. I thought the author made some good points about having a day of rest and how his family did this. It's a great idea and many Scripture passages were quoted to support this.
24/6 is a book that stresses the importance to take one day off from the week to rest and spend time with God. Those, of us, who live in America lead very busy lives. We work long hours, care for our families, take the kids to extracurricular activities, and care for our homes. With all the work we do and extra running around, it is no wonder that we are tired by the end of the week. God knew how busy humans tend to get and He also knew that we need time to rest and relax from all our work. Another thing, which God in His wisdom knew, was that when we get busy and successful, we forget about God. God knew that we need a day to rest and seek Him and that is why we are supposed to have a Sabbath day. 24/6 explains what can happen to a person both spiritually, physically, and emotionally if we obey the 4th commandment, which is to remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy. He also described what his Sabbath Day looks like and gave some examples of what it really means to rest, relax, and seek God on our "Stop Day". I have been observing a Sabbath Day for several years, however, after reading this book, I have seen that I do need to make a few changes to how I spend my Sabbaths. I made the decision to observe Sabbath at a time when life was becoming too busy and when my health was compromised. However, I mostly just avoided work and took the day to go to church and hang out with friends and family. After reading this book, though, I have come to the conclusion that I need to spend more time with God on my Sabbath Day and unplug my computer/tv because my mind does not get the rest it should with these distractions. I encourage all Christians to read this book and to observe the Sabbath. I know that my life has been positively affected since I started and I think that if America were to go back to observing Sabbath, our country would be a better country.
24/6 is a very enjoyable book to read. Matthew Sleeth writes in an engaging manner, full of personal anecdotes from his days as an ER doctor. The tone of the book is positive, about how much better life can be if we follow God's plan for us to include a day of rest in our weekly schedule.
The anecdotes have nothing directly to do with the Sabbath; rather, they illustrate simple truths such as "what is missing does matter" or the importance of recognizing true authority. What they also do is help the reader feel a connection to Sleeth as a person, which perhaps will make his recommendations carry greater weight.
I doubt many people need to be convinced of the desirability of taking more time to rest. The question is how to go about it. Here, I felt that Sleeth did not offer much. There are a few practical suggestions, but for the most part he leaves it to the individual to work out the details in his own life. Sleeth does not even seem concerned with which day is the day of rest, a point that will concern some traditionalists.
The other area that I would have liked dealt with more is the role of worship, study of Scripture, and fellowship with other believers as part of Sabbath observance. For the most part, Sleeth seems to present the act of resting itself as how Sabbath-keeping honors God. Without a specific focus on God, however, I find it too easy for a day of rest to be a day of self-indulgence. There is one chapter on the connection between Sabbath and generosity, but the topic seems more added on than an outgrowth of the rest of his discussion about Sabbath-keeping.
It's the only commandment that beings with the word remember - almost as if God knew we would forget.
Well, guess what?
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.