In today’s society, you don’t have to convince people to love themselves. Self-centred, self-absorbed, and selfish are common descriptors for our times. We smile more at bathroom mirrors and phones than people. People interpret their world through a lens that asks, “How is this good for me?”
Doesn’t the Bible also teach us to love ourselves? Yes, but it puts our self-love in context of loving others. Philippians 2:4 states “Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others.”
We are to care for ourselves so we can care for others.
There are all kinds of excuses for the lack of self-care: I’m too busy; People are relying on me; No one else can do my job; I’m juggling too many things to take a break.
No one can say that Jesus’ mission was not important. What he was to accomplish in three years would change the course of history and have eternal consequences. Yet Jesus exercised self-care in four areas that we also need to address.
First, Jesus started his day with prayer. Mark 1:35 tells us Jesus knew he needed to recharge his spiritual batteries before facing the rigours of his day. What about you?
Secondly, Jesus didn’t do it all himself. Jesus surrounded himself with friends and helpers, those who supported him and also joined him in ministry. Who are your group of supporters and co-workers who give you the clear message, “you don’t have to do it all yourself”?
Thirdly, Jesus knew how to set a reasonable workload for himself. In his book, Crazy Busy, Kevin DeYoung says, “Jesus didn’t do it all. Jesus didn’t meet every need. He left people waiting in line to be healed. He left one town to preach to another. He never interacted with the vast majority of people on the planet. He didn’t try to do it all. And yet, he did everything God asked him to do.”
Finally, Jesus stepped away from the press of the crowd and the business of work to rest (Mark 6:31). Do you schedule regular time off?
As we strive to be “The Hand of God, in the Heart of the City,” let’s remember to take care of ourselves, so we can care for others.
Major David Oldford
Director of Spiritual Care
Lord, you call us to self-care before we care for others.
Jesus set us an example of ministry and self-love.
Help us to establish a nurturing work-life balance that will give us the resources we need to meet the needs around us.