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  • Writer's pictureApril Knapp

Caring for Self is Not Selfish

I never said it out loud, but the lies I believed were deeply set into my mind, constantly reverberating in my soul: “I don’t have time to care for myself.” “If I don’t do this now, my ministry will fail.” And the most deceitful-“I am exhausted because I am dying to self to serve others, which is holy.”

Does this sound familiar? Don’t be surprised if it does. Last year Barna surveyed ministers on the reasons they quit ministry. The number one answer was “the stress of the job.”

Ministry can be demanding. There will always be someone that you serve who is in need. There are so many tasks to be done to keep the wheels of ministry turning. Because of the constant demand, we often fail to care for ourselves.

Caring for ourselves is not selfish. In fact, failing to do so is disobedience to God. He made it clear that we are to care for ourselves both physically and spiritually.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says,

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

God never commands us to overwork ourselves for the sake of ministry. In fact, he has some pretty harsh words for those who fail to care for themselves.

1 Corinthians 3:17 says,

“If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

When God calls us to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice,” he doesn’t mean we throw our ragged selves on the altar for the sake of others. In the Old Testament Law, the animals required for sacrifice were to be the best of the best-not sickly and worn out. In order to be a living sacrifice, we must care for own souls. There is no other way to properly be a living sacrifice for Jesus.

Even God the Father, the great Creator of the Universe, rested. Even Jesus, the most powerful Savior of the world, rested often. If Jesus needed rest, how much more do we need rest!

When we believe we cannot rest or care for ourselves because it is selfish, are we saying that God, who rested, is selfish too?

God invites you to care for yourself and rest your soul in him. Next week I will post about the reasons we fail to care for ourselves and how Jesus modeled the opposite.


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