Monday, February 11, 2013
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor,
and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD
your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your
daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock,
or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD
made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested
on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and
made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11 )
According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, the average
employed American works a 46-hour work week and 38% of the
respondents in their study worked more than 50 hours per week.
Various other studies have shown that Americans put in more hours at
work than any other nation in the world.
At the same time, a 2009 study by the American Psychological
Association found 80% of Americans feel stressed about money and the
According to a CNN article on the subject, “Mounting anxieties led 60
percent of poll respondents to report that they're feeling angry and
irritable, 53 percent reported feeling fatigued and 52 percent said they
lie awake at night. As many as 47 percent reported having headaches,
35 percent had upset stomachs and 34 percent experienced muscular
tension because of stress.”
One of the things that built this country was a strong work ethic based
on the Puritan belief that idle hands are the devil’s workshop. While
that exact quote is not in the Bible, there is more than one passage of
scripture that reminds us that laziness is not good, and it’s certainly
But, there is such a thing as taking a good thing too far. A dear
friend was raised by a father who was heard to say on more than
one occasion, “Sleep? You can sleep when you’re dead!” My friend
commonly puts in 16-hour days.
Dr. Matthew Sleeth, a former emergency room doctor, has written a
book entitled, “24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life.”
In a recent CNN interview, Sleeth is quoted as saying, “When we're
constantly going, we pour out chemicals to try to meet those stresses.
We have short-term stress hormones like adrenaline, and longer-
term hormones like the steroids that we pour out. Those chemicals
constantly being "on" are bad for us, and they lead to anxiety and
depression and to, I think, diabetes and being obese.”
Sleeth’s prescription for a healthier, happier life is honoring the fourth
commandment and resting for one day in seven.
It’s no coincidence that Sleeth is now a pastor, but the Biblical concept
on which he based the book is gaining national attention as it resonates
even with the media and academia.
To me, it’s just another affirmation that the commandments aren’t
harsh and cruel, but wise and loving rules given for our benefit.
Isn’t it funny how the more we look into things, the more we find God
was right all along?
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor
stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his
delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and
night. (Psalm 1:1-2 )