The past couple of Sundays I have posted excerpts from Don Whitney’s book Simplify Your Spiritual Life and I will continue with this series today before concluding it next Sunday. Whitney has given me much to think about in the past weeks, and he continues to challenge me with today’s reflection on our 24/7 culture.
The front-page headline of a recent issue of USA Today reads, “24/7 almost a way of life.” The article begins with, “The nation has an unofficial motto…24/7. 24/7 isn’t just an expression, it’s a cultural earthquake that is changing the way we live.”
In times past we had to arrange our lives so we could shop and run errands before places closed. Now we have the “convenience” of shopping at increasing numbers of stores that stay open around the clock. We can get the latest news or find something interesting on TV twenty-four hours a day. Email piles up in our inbox day and night, and entire galaxies of useful websites wait to be explored in the ever-expending universe of cyberspace. Partially because of such unprecedented opportunities provided by technology and prosperity, we also suffer with less sleep than any previous generation, Eventually, though, the need for sleep keeps us from staying busy a full twenty-four hours of every day.
But the “7” part of the 24/7 is another matter. Years ago the culture still provided a change of pace on Sunday. Few merchants opened their doors, which meant few people actually worked, little was bought and solid, and hardly any folks were scurrying around in order to go to work or buy things. In general, everyone had a slower, simpler day than on other days. Today, almost nothing restrains us from being as busy on the Lord’s Day as on the other six days of the week. Virtually everything available to us Monday through Saturday is available on Sunday. And for many Christians, other than church attendance and (perhaps) not going to work, Sunday is now no different from any other day.
That’s a big reason why the lives of almost everyone seem so complex: in a 24/7 world there’s no sense of when the week begins or ends. There’s no longer a day when we have to stop. As a result, there’s no more desperately needed way of simplifying the spiritual life of Christians today than delighting in the Lord’s Day.
There are few better decisions you can make, for yourself, your spouse, your children and your friends, than to choose to stop and allow the Lord’s Day to be a day of rest. To allow one day to be set aside as a day when we stop with busy-ness and relax through rest, worship and recreation.