Health

Is Self-Care Selfish? Stewarding Your Personal Life for Long-Term Ministry (Part 2)

Read Part 1.

A Biblically-Based Perspective of Self-Care

Does self-care have any place in a pastor’s life? Viewed solely from a worldly perspective, it’s questionable. But through a biblical lens, self-care resembles the biblical concept of stewardship.

Viewed biblically, self-care is stewardship of our personal resources and priorities. It is managing the resources God has entrusted to us for eternal benefit. Several Bible texts containing either instructions or examples come to mind.

The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 teaches us to invest the resources entrusted to us for the benefit of the Master.

According to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20,

Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit … you are not your own. For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Our physical bodies are a means of glorifying God. We should treat them accordingly.

Peter exhorts,

As each one has received a gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10)

Each of us is to use our gifts not only in a way that benefits others, but as good stewards of what God has graciously entrusted to us.

Jethro guided Moses to radically alter his leadership style or he would burn out and hurt the people he was supposed to be helping (Exodus 18:13-23).

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Is Self-Care Selfish? Stewarding Your Personal Life for Long-Term Ministry (Part 1)

Self-care sounds like man-centered psychobabble. It feels inherently selfish, contradicting biblical concepts such as self-denial and self-sacrifice. Why would a ministry-minded Christian pay special attention to himself or herself?

Let’s learn what self-care is, then see if any part aligns with Scripture. Perhaps it belongs on the trash pile of worldly philosophies. Or possibly common grace has made mankind instinctively conscious of a healthy practice.

Understanding Self-Care

A helpful definition of self-care is “the self-initiated behaviour that people choose to incorporate to promote good health and general well-being.”1 Simply stated, self-care is taking responsibility for your personal health and well-being.Areas usually in focus are physical well-being – diet, exercise, and sleep; mental/psychological well-being, especially how one deals with stress; and relational well-being – harmony and satisfaction with family, friends, and others. As Christians, we add one more, spiritual well-being – communion with God and spiritual formation.

The Need for Something Like Self-Care

Two questions arise when relating self-care to people in ministry, particularly pastors. Does pastoral life increase the need for self-care? And is self-care a legitimate pursuit for a Christian in ministry?

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Lifeway Research: New Year’s Resolutions Focus on Health, God and Money

"...more than 2 in 5 Americans (44%) say previous New Year’s resolutions have focused on their health. More than 1 in 4 say they’ve made resolutions on their relationship with God (29%), their finances (29%) or their relationship with a family member (26%)." - Lifeway

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NIH head Collins steps down, led fight against cancer, COVID

"Besides his heralded work for the NIH, Collins is known widely for writing on religion and science and reconciling the two. Last year, he was awarded ... the Templeton Prize, for demonstrating how religious faith can motivate scientific research." - RNS

See also: As he steps down as the head of NIH, he has a warning about future pandemics

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