A New York Times article detailed the current public health crisis of chronic lack of adequate sleep. We know that a booming sleep industry has popped up in response. Companies selling mattresses, pills, teas, and tracking apps have become an enormously profitable industry. The most interesting part of the Times article concerns the marketing that the sleep industry most relies on: it reports on studies that measured the performance of baseball players with longer sleep schedules and the productivity of daytime nap-takers (Tony Schwartz, “Relax! You’ll Be More Productive,” New York Times, February 9, 2013). Rest is not seen as an inherent good, but as a means to a greater end: doing more. We sometimes respond to God’s good gifts in much the same way as the Pharisees: using them as tools for our own purposes instead of seeking the kind of flourishing they’re intended to encourage.
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