Tuesday, November 6, 2012


"God did not intend our lives to be . . . a continuous run-on sentence . . . 
To add meaning to our lives, God gave us the punctuation mark of the Sabbath."

If you've been reading here for awhile, you may recall me mentioning Matthew Sleeth. I've heard him speak twice, and just finished my fourth Sleeth book (Two were written by his wife, Nancy.)

As a recipient of the Sleeths' monthly newsletter for their nonprofit organization, Blessed Earth, I was pleased to receive a complimentary copy of Matthew's new book, 24/6: A prescription for a healthier, happier life.

As with all of the Sleeths' books, I was challenged to examine the choices I make. I appreciated Matthew's perspective on the Sabbath as a former physician and workaholic. He shares fascinating stories from his emergency room days throughout the book to help illustrate his points.

Sleeth reminds us that keeping the Sabbath holy is one of God's Top Ten Rules for His people, and one many of us overlook. He reminds us that another wrong approach is to be legalistic about adhering to the Sabbath. "The intent of the commandment--rest--is what is important. Sabbath is meant to be a refuge, not a prison." I appreciated this statement, even while I kind of hoped for a do/don't do list of what is acceptable.

Because I am someone who prides myself on efficiency and productivity, I needed to hear Sleeth's message about stopping for one day a week. "Yes, work is good," Sleeth writes, "but the purpose of work is not more work. The purpose of work is to live and glorify God. One of the ways we do that best is by remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy."

"Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God." Exodus 20:8-9

I'll be mulling over this for awhile. I'm not sure what practical changes to implement so that my/our Sabbath is more restful. I've been considering turning off all media on Sundays, as the Sleeths do, or even just the computer. I like their idea of sleeping in and taking a nap, but being empty nesters obviously offers more flexibility than this season of having three young kids. The Sleeths also take a long walk on Sundays, which could be another good option. I just have to think about what is restful to me, and what is possible for my current situation.

I'm so curious to hear from you. Do you--how do you--observe the Sabbath day?

photo credit


angie said...

I struggle with the same dilemma--productivity is what I strive on the rest of the week. Yet I recognize the need for that punctuation mark on the Sabbath.
My son plays soccer and his games are always on Sunday afternoons. Since these games tend to take us all over the area, I find myself trying to accomplish other errands or sightseeing while there. This leads to a busy and away-from-home Sunday. I am re-evaluating as well.

thehomespunheart said...

Our Sundays are restful as much as they can be with (as you said) three young active children. One thing I try to do to set Sunday apart is consistently fix a hot breakfast that morning. We typically eat cereal, toast, etc... during the week - but on Sunday - I might do pancakes or scrambled eggs, etc. David and I always play a game after dinner and send the peeps to play! A long walk sounds lovely this time of year!

Ginger said...

My fledgling church feeds the poorest in Beaufort's Northern Quadrant neighborhood. We take turns cooking and taking it to the park downtown in that neighborhood. Afterwards, I take food (including groceries) to a disabled 70 year old lady in the same neighborhood. I had been taking to her for about 8 months when one Saturday night her son followed me outside (just about a month ago) and said he knew I was for real because there was no food to eat in that house, and he knew God had sent me.

That's what I do because Jesus said what we do for the least of these, we do for Him.

After that, I typically come home and nap, to prepare for Monday.

Mom said...

I've heard of this new Sleeth book and am interested to read your review. :) For now, our Sundays start with a slower morning since our church service begins at 10:40 (that will change after Christmas). After dinner (sometimes with friends, sometimes not), we are on the phone for awhile with daughters :) and moms. Weather permitting, we like to take a walk in the afternoon. Sunday night's longstanding tradition is popcorn and a movie or sports event on TV. I rarely go to any stores on Sunday -- I remember the day when stores weren't open on Sunday (as is still the case in some small towns!). And recently, I've been trying to spend less time on the computer on Sunday. I love Sunday!
Great post -- love you, Mom

Katie said...

Great post, Carrie. Over the course of our marriage, we have been trying to implement what the Lord would have us to do to set apart this day for Him. Currently, we have Sunday services at church in the morning and evening. In between, we go home and eat and rest. In this middle time, we usually nap or read or just spend family time together. I love the slowness of Sundays. Such a refreshment to the busy life during the week!

Thanks for sharing this. I've enjoyed your recommendations of one of their books in the past, so I may look into this one too.

Have a good day!

Hayley said...

When I homeschooled my kids, it was so very hard for me to 'rest' on Sundays. That was the only day that Kevin would be home during the week, and I felt the only time for me to get some much needed laundry, and housework done. Once they started attending a local christian school full time, I was able to get more done on the weekdays, and am now more restful on Sundays.

My mom always taught me that I shouldn't go to any stores on Sundays, because the person working there is working on the sabbath, and I would be violating God's commandment of rest by making them work for me. I struggle with this, because it's tradition for us (as a family) to go out to eat for Sunday dinner, and pick up some odds and ends at Walmart/Target on those afternoons as well. We live 45 minutes from the nearest one, so when we are closer to those locations on Sundays, we feel it best for us to take advantage of that. And, for us it is fun, not work. But, to the person serving us, that isn't the case.