Today’s guest blog is written by Kim Shippey, an avid reader and devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He is a full-time writer and editor with the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly print and online publication.
I had a great time recently reading a book in which the author (not trained as a writer) points out that if the Ten Commandments were written on apple pie and you got to choose which slice to have, based on size, you’d be advised to take the fourth. You would get more than a third of the pie put on your plate!
Yes, that’s the one that asks that we remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy (Exodus 20:8).
The author, Matthew Sleeth, describes this in his subtitle as “a prescription for a healthier, happier life,” in a book crisply titled 24/6 (Tyndale, 2012).
But what fascinated me is that he is a former emergency room physician and hospital chief of staff, and it was only about ten years ago that he first picked up a copy of the Bible on a waiting room table in a hospital and couldn’t put it down. In many ways it took over from his stethoscope, and now as a “barefoot theologian,” as he calls himself, he readily admits his life has never been the same.
Although many of the experiences he draws upon in the book come straight from medical cases he worked on, 95 percent of his thrust toward a healthier life is based on his almost childlike discovery of the Scriptures and their healing power in a “digitally crazed, always-on world.” His focus is on our need for a day of rest, the Sabbath, which as Bible scholar Eugene Peterson says in the book’s foreword is not a rule to be kept, but a freedom to enter into.
Sleeth engages us in an encouraging, cozy conversation in which almost every remark gleams with freshness and healing potential:
- A weekly day of rest is like Cherry Garcia ice cream and hugs: we can survive without them, but we can’t really live.
- Rest gives our souls the time they need to heal.
- It’s not small talk but God-size quiet time that defines my intimacy with the Lord.
- In a world of specialization and compartmentalization, the Sabbath is a freeing oasis with a gushing spring. It allows God to flow into all of my week.
- To add meaning to our lives, God gave us the punctuation mark of the Sabbath.
Sleeth reminds me of another great thinker who spoke often of the importance of rest, and whose love of the Scriptures transformed her life, Mary Baker Eddy. She wrote that “God rests in action.” And also that “The highest and sweetest rest, even from a human standpoint, is in holy work” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 519-520).