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Summary: Take one day off a week to gain perspective and be more productive.

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Quick, do the math: A bat and a ball cost $1.10. The bat costs one dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

If you came up with 10 cents, you’re in good company. That’s the answer most people come to. It’s intuitive, appealing, but WRONG!

Do the math. If the ball costs 0.10 cents, the bat would be $1.10 ($1 more than the ball), making the total cost at $1.20 (not $1.10). The correct answer is 5 cents for the ball. 0.05 cents + $1.05 = $1.10

If you got the puzzle wrong, don't be discouraged. According to Daniel Kahneman in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, more than 50 percent of students at Harvard, MIT, and Princeton gave the wrong answer. At less selective universities, over 80 percent of students failed the puzzle.

Kahneman notes that solving this puzzle doesn't depend on intelligence as much as it depends on our willingness to slow down, focus intently, and pay attention. (Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2011, pp. 44-45; www.PreachingToday.com)

The same could be said about solving the puzzle of our lives. So many people are feeling overwhelmed, going 210 miles an hour through life, getting so much of it wrong, because they never slow down and pay attention.

Gordon Dahl put it well when he said, “Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play, and to play at their worship. As a result, their meanings and values are distorted. Their relationships disintegrate faster than they can keep them in repair, and their life-styles resemble a cast of characters in search of a plot.”

If all that is true, and I’m afraid it is, then what is the cure? How can we get some perspective on our lives so that they have some meaning and value? How can we learn to slow down and pay attention so that we’re not overwhelmed anymore? How do we find the joy of living again in the midst of our hurried days?

Well, the answer is quite simple, and it’s found in one of the 10 commandments. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Exodus 20, Exodus 20, where we have God’s remedy for a hurried, hollow existence.

Exodus 20:8-11 “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. (ESV)

Do you want God’s blessing on your harried life? Then the answer is quite simple – take one day off in seven. Stop working one full day every week. Put a day of rest in your weekly schedule.

Now, in the Old Testament context, that day was Saturday, the 7th day of the week. In the New Testament, that day became Sunday, the 1st day of the week, in celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is very clear from the Scriptures that Jesus arose from the dead on the first day of the week. Matthew 28:1 says it was “after the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week.” Literally, it was “after the week at dawn on the first of the week.”


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