by Ella Corey
God talks a lot about giving up our earthly possessions to Him. Most of us believers know the importance of tithing and giving to Him what was never really ours. We put money in the offering at church as it goes by, or donate to a local charity. Giving is important, and I’m sure we all agree it’s something God commands us to do.
But, as I so often forget, He doesn’t just command us to give our wealth material goods, He commands us to give our time to Him as well. It’s the fourth commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy,” (Exodus 20:8). Okay, that sounds easy. I go to church on Sunday and don’t take any classes… but still I frequently feel spiritually and physically drained. What I’m doing isn’t enough.
I think about this often, but never seem to get much progress done. I work too hard for a week straight and convince myself that the next week I’ll have better time management and I’ll get things done early, but somehow that never actually happens, and I end up procrastinating all over again. Resting is something I push aside, and say “I’ll do it when I get around to it,” but that isn’t realistic. In all honesty, I’m the kind of person who sets lots of high goals and standards, but rarely follows through. I have to be extremely intentional to have enough self-discipline to set aside time and deliberately plan to do things. Because of this, I’ve found planning extremely important and beneficial. As Richard Cushing, American bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, once said, “Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”
So, this semester I’m doing things differently. I have pledged to legitimately take a day out of my week where I do absolutely no work and no studying. I am taking my Sabbath literally and seriously. Former emergency room physician and current author, Dr. Matthew Sleeth calls this “adopting a 24/6 lifestyle.” When I first read about Dr. Sleeth doing this with his family, I was inspired, but thought of it as almost impractical. I even said to myself “Maybe I’ll think about doing that when I’m older and have a family.” But something he said caught my attention: “In a 24/7 world, rest is not going to happen unless you plan for it.” So I’ve decided to start now.
In an interview with CNN, Dr. Sleeth reflected on the importance of having a ‘stop day’ and how much it’s changed over history. “For almost 2,000 years, Western culture stopped — primarily on Sunday — for about 24 hours. Even when I was a child, you couldn’t buy gasoline, you couldn’t buy milk. The drugstores weren’t open. The only thing that was open was a hospital. Even in dairy farming country, we would milk cows, but we wouldn’t bring in hay. And so society just had a day where they put it in park. (That) was Sunday… until the last 30 years or so.” Americans have gotten busier, and we’ve cut the Sabbath day out of our schedules.
Additionally, as a physician, he’s experienced firsthand health concerns caused by lack of rest. “When we’re constantly going,” he says, “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.”
God calls us to Sabbath because it’s good for our health, mind and soul. I encourage you to consider adopting this “24/6” lifestyle, and plan time to pause and rest for Him.