The airlines want me to be selfish when I fly. In the unlikely event of a loss of cabin pressure, I am supposed to put on my oxygen mask first and then assist those around me. They are not advocating total selfishness. They did not tell me to put my mask on and then let the others figure it out for themselves. They did not tell me that I would be hindering people’s personal growth and transformation if I helped them get their masks on after I put mine on. No, they said, put on your mask first then help others.
I wish I applied this to ministry years ago. I was running around putting masks on everyone else and dying from a lack of oxygen. If I don’t take care of myself, I can’t help care for others. That’s what I love about Jesus. He got it.
He made time for others, but he took care of himself. I need to remember that when I am helping people live the life Christ asks us, and empowers us, to live.
Here are some of the things I think are important to remember when it comes to being ‘selfish.’
- Jesus said, “Follow me.” He set and example for us. He didn’t just teach about wholeness, he lived it. He told us to do as he was doing. He did not say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Jesus had a life that was follow-able. In the process it was transformational. It still is today. I need to lead by example, too.
- Jesus had his priorities straight. When everyone was coming to get healed, Jesus left for another town. He knew what was important. I don’t know about how other jobs are recognized and rewarded, but for most of us pastors it has to do with attendance. We keep doing those things that get rewarded. I guarantee you if taking a day off was rewarded, there would would be a whole bunch more pastors taking time off.
- Jesus took time to re-energize. Ministry is hard. It takes an emotional toll. Without taking time to recuperate, burnout is a real danger to us pastors. Jesus went off to pray and be alone. It was just Jesus and his Father spending time together. If I am going to have any longevity in the pastorate, it is imperative that I take time to restore my soul and spirit.
Jesus took time for himself and for his needs. It was selfish, but he knew if he did not take care of himself, he would eventually not be able to take care of anyone else. Likewise, if I do not take care of myself, I cannot help others. I must be selfish like Jesus.
Do you take regular time to ‘recharge your batteries?’ If so, what do you do?
What keeps you from taking time for yourself?