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“Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”Sounds nice, but how do we find rest in a 24/7 world? Just as the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, we have become slaves to technology. Our technological tools allow 24-hour productivity and connectivity, give us more control, and subtlety enslave us to busyness itself. Sabbath is about restraint, about intentionally not doing everything all the time just because we can. Setting aside a day of rest helps us reconnect with our Creator and find the peace of God that passes all understanding. The Sabbath is about letting go of the controls one day a week and letting God be God. So how do we do it?In 24/6, Dr. Matthew Sleeth describes our symptoms, clarifies the signs, diagnoses the illness, and lays out a simple plan for living a healthier, more God-centered life in a digitally-dazed, always-on world. Sleeth shares how his own family was dramatically transformed when it adopted Sabbath practices and helps readers better understand how their own lives can be transformed – physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually – by adopting the 24/6 lifestyle.
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 2.30(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By MATTHEW SLEETH
TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.Copyright © 2012 Matthew Sleeth
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhat is Missing Does Matter
As we keep or break the Sabbath day, we nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope by which man rises. Abraham Lincoln
SIX OF US stood around a translucent, illuminated X-ray view screen. We were third-year medical students, and our overall knowledge of the basic sciences would never be better. We had mastered anatomy, pathology, physiology, and pharmacology. We knew everything about medicine—in theory.
Now we were ready for our first lesson in radiology. So we took a deep breath, squared our shoulders, and stared at the front and side views of the chest X-rays on the screen.
"See anything amiss?" the radiologist asked.
"Well, if you don't see anything wrong, does anyone care to comment on what's right?"
Still more quiet.
"Okay, let's start with the basics. Who can tell me the sex of the patient?"
And so he began teaching us the fundamentals of reading an X-ray. It was a she, twenty to forty years of age. The diaphragm was normal, the heart was not enlarged. No infections could be seen in the lungs. We couldn't see any tumors. After half an hour of tutelage, we were really getting the hang of radiology.
Then our professor began with some less obvious questions.
"Has she ever had chest trauma?"
"Does she have a partially collapsed lung?"
Whoops, forgot to look for that.
Lynn, the smallest of us and the one with the most pluck, interrupted the silence with the next best thing to an intelligent answer: "What is the history?"
"Good question. Cough for a few days. No fever. No chills. No weight loss or gain. No night sweats."
Nothing in the patient's history suggested anything other than a garden-variety cold.
Then we were asked to consider more subtle matters.
"Is she right- or left-handed? What kind of work does she do?"
Maybe there was a reason this fellow chaired the department. We asked one another questions and thought of every obscure disease we had studied. For fleeting moments, each of us even saw evidence of various maladies. Finally, the X-ray held no secrets.
"Is there anything else, or did we get it all?" the radiologist asked.
An hour's worth of looking had confirmed what our textbooks said was the hardest kind of X-ray to be certain of: a normal one. We'd gotten the point. A lesson had been learned. Our teacher moved to put the films away.
We looked at one another with newfound confidence. We'd gone from being mute to being able to describe subtleties. If we'd been better at eye–hand coordination and duller at memorizing, we might have given one another high fives.
As we turned toward lunch, our mentor spoke one last time. "This film was read by the doctor in charge of the emergency department last night—and the radiology resident on call last night and the one this morning—and they all agreed with you. But I called the patient to tell her I think she has cancer."
We forgot about lunch and turned back to the X-rays. Again we stared at the films, but we couldn't see any evidence of cancer, even as we tried to talk ourselves into it. We looked and looked, but to no avail.
"I'll give you a hint," he said. "It's not something there but something missing that bothers me."
Even with this clue, we came up blank. And we really tried. We pointed to one thing after another, but each time the radiologist would shake his head no.
Someone's stomach rumbled. We were tired and hungry and ready to admit defeat. Our teacher mercifully gave away the answer in his final question: "Where is the left clavicle?"
Where was the left clavicle? It was missing. We hadn't seen it because it wasn't there. The patient's collarbone had been eaten away, almost certainly by cancer.
The take-home point? What's missing does matter.
As a medical student and resident, I routinely worked a ridiculous number of hours. But you don't have to go to medical school to feel like your life is out of control. Whether we are doctors, lawyers, or Indian chiefs, most of us today work too much. Schoolteachers can't leave any child behind, truckers have logbooks, and camp directors need advanced degrees to run a ropes challenge course. It seems as if everyone is working harder. Nobody has a three-martini lunch. There's no time left to sleep on the job. We are all too busy.
And we don't just work at one thing anymore. We drink coffee and drive cars. We drive cars and talk on the phone. We talk on the phone and shop in the cloud ... and fix dinner ... and watch the news.
In the last twenty years, work is up 15 percent and leisure is down 30 percent, and things are only going to get worse. Yet statistics tell only part of the story. They don't account for multitasking, nor do they reflect leisure time per entire family unit. Mom works two jobs, and so do Dad and Sis. Junior is in kindergarten, and he no longer takes a nap after lunch or goes home in the afternoon, as I did. He is in school all day, and if the bureaucrats have their way, Junior and Sis will soon lose their summer vacation.
When I was growing up during the baby boom, everyone was fascinated by the future. Films, books, and cartoons were filled with optimistic predictions. The Jetsons' robot did the laundry and cooked meals as aerocars whizzed through clean, blue skies. While tourists ogled displays at the 1964 World's Fair, sociologists began to predict that too much spare time might become a problem. How would everyone cope with a three-day workweek and four months of vacation every year?
Half a century later, these are moot questions. Too much leisure time is far from the reality that most people experience today. As the announcer on the Epcot ride intones, "The future is now!" We have robots, computers, and time-saving gadgets galore, but the promise of too much time on our hands hasn't materialized. In fact, most of us seem busier than ever. "There aren't enough hours in the day" is a common complaint. If the past fifty years have a lesson to teach, it is this: one more piece of technology will bring neither more time nor more happiness. Despite a plethora of robotic vacuums, electric clothes dryers, and three-minute eggs cooked in thirty seconds, something seems to be missing.
The Misplaced Day
Remember what the radiologist taught? It is hard to see something that's not there. Something is missing from our lives—something that until now had been safely passed along, generation upon generation.
Just a short while ago, almost everything in society stopped one day a week. Gas stations, banks, and grocery stores locked their doors at night and on Sundays. No more. We are no longer a society that goes to sleep at night or conducts business six days a week. Now we go 24/7. And in the metamorphosis to a 24/7 world, something, like the clavicle in the X-ray, has gone missing.
What got taken away is rest. Sunday was the day when libraries and pharmacies barred the door and people got dressed up and drove to church. Those without particular religious convictions simply took the day off. Jews marked Saturday as their holy day and called it Sabbath. Seventh-day Adventists did likewise. Most Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian clergy relaxed on Mondays. Irrespective of faith, all members of society were given and even guaranteed a day each week when they could rest.
Subtracting a day of rest each week has had a profound effect on our lives. How could it not? One day a week adds up. Fifty-two days a year times an average life span is equal to more than eleven years. Take away eleven years of anything in a lifetime, and there will be a change. This is a law of the universe: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Subtract over a decade of sleep, work, or education, and the entire character of one's existence is altered. Multiply eleven years times a third of a billion Americans, and you are looking for a lost continent of time. Unfortunately, in our society, it's not Monday that got mislaid; it's our Sabbath, our day of rest. If there is to be any hope for recovering the Sabbath, we must first admit that something is missing. Despite reassurances of convenience, safety, and choice, America has been conned. My generation was raised with a day off each week. We witnessed the change to 24/7; we saw a cultural treasure stolen. Still, there was no outcry. It happened so quickly, and yet so gradually, that no one even protested. And now my children's generation does not have a day of rest at all. The song lyric "you don't know what you've got till it's gone" is only partially true. If you've never seen something, how do you know it's missing?
A weekly day of rest is like Cherry Garcia ice cream and hugs: we can survive without them, but we can't really live. I once asked an auditorium full of grade-school children sitting on bleachers about a weekly day of rest. "What do you think about everyone stopping one day a week? No chores. No homework. No parents going off to work. No shopping. No errands. Does this sound like a good idea?" They stared, smiling at me like I was asking if it was okay to add another Christmas to the year, or if any of them would mind being able to fly.
Suppose that everyone got to take off one day a week. No one cheated. Six days a week is all any business could or would operate. If you're open for business on Sunday, you have to close one other day of the week. If you're closed on Saturdays, then you can operate Sundays. You get the idea. For the moment, put aside concerns about hospitals and emergencies and that sort of thing; we are simply considering what would be ideal. Everyone in the country works only six days a week. That's the rule.
In a highly unscientific survey I conduct by asking people (when I remember), 100 percent of the respondents I've asked so far are in favor of this plan. It is ironic that if polled, 100 percent of Americans would say they believe that no one should steal, lie, or cheat. Keep in mind that there are many things people will not agree upon. Country, rap, and classical music are examples: some people love them, some not so much. But when everyone agrees on something and yet that something does not exist, be assured that we are dealing with the most important issues in the solar system. We are dealing with the deepest business of humanity.
A day of rest is missing from our lives, and as in the case of the X-ray, what is missing is hard to see. To the radiologist, the missing clavicle was a sign of illness. As a barefoot theologian, I regard the missing day of rest as a worrisome sign.
The practice of stopping one day a week—of only going 24/6—is not new for humanity. It started the day after human history began, and it made it through the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. It didn't perish when it was exported to the New World. It survived the American Civil War and was still going strong when women got the vote. It prospered in the Depression, and it blasted off at the dawn of the Space Age. Only in the last few minutes of time has it been misplaced.
But where did our day of rest go—and can we live without it?
Excerpted from 24/6 by MATTHEW SLEETH Copyright © 2012 by Matthew Sleeth. Excerpted by permission of TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
From the Author....................xiii
CHAPTER 1 What Is Missing Does Matter....................3
CHAPTER 2 Remember the Sabbath....................13
CHAPTER 3 How the Fourth Commandment Got Added, Multiplied, and Subtracted....................27
CHAPTER 4 Jesus and the Sabbath....................45
CHAPTER 5 More than Just Another Brick in the Wall....................59
CHAPTER 6 Resting in Rest....................71
CHAPTER 7 It's about Time....................89
CHAPTER 8 A Sense of Place....................103
CHAPTER 9 Maggots in the Manna....................113
CHAPTER 10 The Sermon on the Amount....................131
CHAPTER 11 Let the Celebration Begin....................143
CHAPTER 12 Shabbat Shalom....................159
About the Author....................203
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This an interesting and well thought out book which takes a modern look at the 4th commandment, in light of our 24/7 world. As a child, I remember most places of business were closed on Sunday. This was called the Blue Laws. I remember when we were told the computer age would reduce our work week. Because we were supposed to be able to get so much done in less time. But what it did was increase the amount of work hours for most people. It also increased the amount of time spend at home doing work. Cell phones give others the impression that we are available 24 hours a day. God forbid you don't answer so ones call. The Sabbath was meant for man, to rest himself and all creatures, he owned. While the day we call the Sabbath may not be the same, we need to have one day every week that we rest and contemplate on where we have been, where we are and where we are going. Sabbath was made to commune with GOD, meditate and rest the body.
Wonderful book. It opened my eyes to a much richer, more meaningful, understanding of the Sabboth. Will reread often. Never actually thought of the Sabboth as a gift. Will give the book as gifts to friends and co-workers.
This book made me reminisce about my childhood. I remember a time with there wasn't anything to do on Sunday except go to church and then go home where our choices were to watch one of the three channels available to us, read a book, or play outside. To take it a step further, these were the same days where most people didn't call you on the telephone before 9 am or after 9 pm unless it was an emergency. Fast forward to the 21st century and as Sleeth points out, we are a 24/7 generation. I love the way he provides all the scriptural references related to keeping the Sabbath holy. I love the way he lays out the reasons for keeping a day of rest and his plan for a 24/6 lifestyle. This is a great book! It is a quick read and is entertaining with Sleeth's stories from his experiences as a physician. While some people might take issue with whether the Sabbath is on Saturday or Sunday, and Sleeth emphasizes simply designating a day of rest, I agree the most important aspect is to consistently observe a day of rest. I highly recommend this book for whoever remembers living a 24/6 lifestyle from the past, anyone who is overwhelmed and feeling like the more they work, the farther they fall behind, or anyone who is worn down. I highly recommend you read the book, and give the 24/6 lifestyle a try. The rat race will always be available if you want to go back to it.
How do we rest in a 24/7 world? Just like the Hebrews in Egypt who were slaves, we are slaves to social media, cell phones and technology. In 24/6 the author gives us a prescription to rest and take time away from the rat race. Setting time aside one day a week would help us reconnect with Jesus, finding peace and letting God be God. I read the entire book in one day and highly recommend everyone should take the time to read the book.
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.
Making sure you have a "Sabbath", or day of rest once per week. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Matthew Sleeth's book, "24/6", talks of the reasons why the fourth commandment is so important to our lives. As a doctor, he gives many valid physical concerns for unplugging regularly from our over-connected world - taking time to physically and mentally 'break' can be critical to our health. Spiritually, since is it something that God commanded it only makes sense that we would embrace this opportunity to connect with God AND rest. I know, in our modern society this seems to fly in the face of typical American wisdom.....but we have to remember to be a human being not a human doing. :) This was a super easy read, his stories are interesting, his points valid, his communication style straightforward. I appreciated this reminder that more work is not always better and rest is crucial to well-being - physically, emotionally, spiritually. I recommend this book - once you start you will be hard pressed to put it down, and you will be glad you started!
Great book!! We are a non-stop society that thrives on busy schedules and multi-tasking. The idea of resting sounds too difficult, but is so incredibly necessary. I especially loved the verses at the back of the book. Great encouragement and a great task of purposefully resting a day each week.
24/6 is compelling. Reading the stories within this book empowered me to make necessary changes in my life. Keeping the Sabbath IS a commandment, not just a suggestion, and in today’s world it seems most of us have forgotten that. The book is easy to read and kept my interest throughout. There weren’t any lagging areas, and was a quick read. I’m certainly changed. Whether you need a gentle nudge or a push, this book is sufficient to do either one.
What I most liked about 24/6 is that Dr. Sleeth didn't try to tell people exactly how one MUST keep their Sabbaths. He did share was he and his family usually do and gave suggestions as to what others might do, but he did not mandate what was required. While he talked quite a bit about a Sunday Sabbath, he did not say that Sunday WAS the Sabbath. He also mentioned that in this day and age, it is just most important to take one day off in seven not necessarily a particular day. The book was easy to read and enjoyable.
The 24/7 schedules of the modern world and its global marketplace have become almost inescapable; they have broken in on the realms of peace, solitude, rest, and finally worship. Matthew Sleeth begins his book with a brief exploration of this modern phenomenon of the non-stop lifestyle, then offers his solution—God’s solution: “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” In 24/6, Sleeth reminds us that the Sabbath is the day set aside to rest from our labors, and is therefore the perfect answer to the demands of the modern age. The secular culture of the 24/7 schedule tells and believes the lie that time is money and that you get only what you earn. But this heartening book encourages a return to reliance on God’s grace; all that we receive comes ultimately from his hand, including an entire day in which we are freed from the work and stresses of each week. My only qualm about 24/6 is that Sleeth seems to forget that “the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” In the final section of his book, he outlines practices his own family has adopted as a means of Sabbath-keeping. Apart from going to Church, though, they seem rather dour and lifeless. Their Sabbath activities are largely meditative, verging on Sabbatarian. Of course there is joy and rest in studying and praying over the Word of God, but there is joy and rest in being out in his world and among his people as well, and I worry that some of Sleeth’s recommended practices tend to exclude the latter, veering toward dangerous health-and-wealth. They tend to focus only inward, and not on what our Sabbath-keeping can and does mean for those around us. In faithfully observing the Sabbath we are filled with the life of heaven, and we are meant to carry that life forth into the wider world. All things considered, however, Sleeth’s work is timely and insightful, and his message is one that needs to be heard by the Church and the world alike.
While I was reading 24/6, several people commented on the title and asked me what it was about. The concept of 24/7 is ubiquitous in our global workplace, and most I have talked to say it would be great to have a day off—really off. We are constantly available by cell phone, email, or voice mail, and this has even evolved to the point where we feel guilty or are actually MADE to feel guilty if we don’t respond in what the other person feels is a timely manner—often within mere minutes. We panic if we leave home without our cell phone. And yet there are laws to protect us from ourselves if we try to use the cell phone while driving and laws that are meant to limit work hours to what is felt to be a safe level. Not simply a feel good religious book, the author actually presents evidence of increased illness when we do not have any margin or downtime in our lives. It increases stress, which is tied to illness, but our bodies also have built-in mechanisms to provide rest, such as sleep when much of our healing and restoration occurs. When we deflect these mechanisms, breakdowns will eventually occur. 24/6 offers a plan for restoring balance to your life by allowing God His due. By embracing His influence, and resting as He commands, we can be healthier and happier.
This is a delightful and helpful encouragement for all of us to slow down and rest in t he midst of our frenzied and "hyper-everything" culture. Accessing experiences from his medical work and from life, Dr. Sleeth shows why God has written the Sabbath rest into creation itself. Not only do we need it for our personal welfare but also for the sake of the biosphere. I encourage all to buy and read this book. It will be a refreshment and an encouragement.