Did God Think We Would Forget This?

It’s the only commandment that begins with the word remember – almost as if God knew we would forget.

Well, guess what?

We did.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8,11

I first met Matthew Sleeth at a Creation Care Conference at Northland Church in Orlando in 2008. We were both speakers at the conference, and it was there that I learned Sleeth’s amazing story as he moved from an emergency room doctor to one of the leading voices for Creation Care.  Our paths have crossed several times in the last few years, most recently at the White House Greening America’s Congregations Conference.

Sleeth is the author of Serve God, Save the Planet, and founder of Blessed Earth, a nonprofit organization that focuses on Creation Care. It’s very much a family affair as wife Nancy (Go Green, Save Green and Almost Amish) and daughter Emma (It’s Easy Being Green) have contributed much to the healthy conversation about Creation Care by not just writing by living out their values.

Mathew Sleeth’s newest book 24/6 provides a life-giving prescription for a healthier more God-centered life amidst a digitally crazed, always-on world. It will help you better understand how your life can be radically transformed – physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually – by adopting a 24/6 lifestyle.

His years of experience as an ER physician in hospitals qualifies him as a veteran in a culture of demanding overwork. His entry into the Christian faith ten years ago provides a total reorientation of his imagination in the Hebrew/Christian culture of Sabbath keeping. And most impressive of all, he explores the many details of what is involved in practicing Sabbath in a world that is unrelenting in its distractions and pressures to work longer and harder.

All this is done not from a theoretical position but firmly in the context of marriage and family life, with all the domestic and relational details involved in doing nothing where doing nothing always requires constant coordination and relationship.

24/6 is a book that restores Sabbath to its extensive biblical narrative context. Jesus, not rules, sets the tone. Sabbath keeping is conveyed in stories – doctor stories, stories of friends, stories of family, stories of Jesus. These stories keep Sabbath “nested” – integral to the tie and place in which relationships form and develop.

To illustrate how well Sleeth accomplishes this, here are a few excerpts from a section entitled “What God Created on the Seventh Day.”

In Genesis, we find a seven-day week. God begins to create the universe, and finds everything “good.” Each succeeding day, things get more complicated. On day six, God forms Adam, and then – because she is even more complicated – God makes Eve. “Yes! Excellent! Very good! Tov m’od!”

How can God top creating a universe and my wife and daughter?

The piece de resistance comes out of left field. Up to this point, everything has been created out of nothing, but on the morning of the seventh day, God makes nothing out of something. Rest is brought into being.

The point is that something very important about the character of God is revealed on the seventh day: God stops.

God doesn’t need to rest after creating the universe because he’s tired. He rests because he’s holy, and everything that God does is holy.

God rests. God is holy. Therefore, rest is holy. It’s simple math.

24/6 is a powerfully personal story of one man’s exploration of our 24/7 world, why we need the Sabbath, how we do the Sabbath, and how to create a 24/6 life.

Consider the Sabbath close to home: what would it look like if you and your family remembered?