“You are the most important person you lead today.”
That can’t be true, can it? It sounds a bit selfish, maybe even arrogant. Certainly I’m not more important than my kids, or my spouse, or the ministry I lead. I may be the leader of a team, but I’m called to humbly serve that team. After all, isn’t servant leadership about making yourself the least important person in the room?
Jesus Christ was the ultimate servant leader. But Jesus also demonstrated an important principle… I must lead myself well if I’m going to serve others well.
Jesus’ Model for Self-Care
Commissioned with the most important mission and ministry in history, Jesus was certainly driven and busy. But even with people pressing to get to him with needs, Jesus repeatedly took time to withdraw from the crowds.
- He withdrew to pray (Mark 1:35, Mark 6:46, Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12-13).
- He withdrew to rest (Mark 6:31-32, Mark 4:35-39).
- He withdrew to spend time with his disciples (Mark 3:7, Mark 3:13).
- He withdrew to be alone (Matthew 14:13, John 7:10).
Jesus was divine, yet he was also human and had legitimate human needs. Though completely dependent on his divine nature to lead and empower his earthly ministry, he cared for the physical realm through which that power and ministry flowed.
After ministering to the crowds, Jesus made a practice of withdrawing and refueling before he poured himself out again. Jesus practiced and modeled good self-care. He didn’t hide his physical or emotional needs, but asked his friends for support. While Jesus’ life certainly involved rigorous service, sacrifice, and suffering, it also involved self-investment and self-care. By making it a practice to invest in himself, he was better able to humanly care for those whom he was called to lead.
The most important person you lead really is yourself. Through investment in yourself, you are able to best lead others. A spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy you honors God and best fulfills the incredible calling God has entrusted to you.
Consider those in your life you would think of more highly than yourself. Don’t you want the best for them? Don’t they deserve the best you?
Lead them well by leading yourself well today.
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. – Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
Good self-care begins with self-awareness of your comprehensive health.
All of You: Why Your Comprehensive Health Matters
You matter to God.
In fact, every domain and aspect of your life matters to God.
The apostle Paul notes God’s holistic concern in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24:
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
God wants to impact every area of our lives, and he wants us to use every area of our lives to love and glorify him. When questioned about which commandment is greatest, Jesus responded,
The most important commandment is this: “…you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:29-31
God loves all of you, and he want you to love and honor him with all of you.
Comprehensive health matters because we are to love and honor God in every aspect of our being, relating, and doing.
Your comprehensive health matters because…
1) It honors God.
Comprehensive health is really a matter of stewardship. The apostle Paul reminds us that we do not belong to ourselves. Everything we have, even our own bodies, were given to us by God and belong to God.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
How we use our bodies, minds, talents, and resources is all a matter of stewardship. As we are good stewards of each domain, we honor God.
2) It impacts your witness.
In his final moments on earth, Jesus reminds his followers of their mission: “…And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…” (Acts 1:8). We are to be witnesses for Christ, not only in word, but in example. In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus clarifies that part of that mission is to “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” If we are to teach everything Jesus commanded, that includes teaching on finances (Luke 10:29-37, Romans 13:6-8), marriage (Matthew 19:4-6), friendship (John 15:12-17), and rest (Matthew 11:28-30).
Jesus had much to say about being, relating, and doing.
Ultimately, our lives are to be a reflection to the world of what Jesus thinks about identity, relationships, and how to experience abundant life in him. All of this points to the most important message at the heart of our calling:
So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” – 2 Corinthians 5:20
3) It impacts your service.
Ephesians 2:10 reminds us: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” There is no doubt that we were created with purpose to honor and serve God well. Our health in each domain impacts the quality and longevity of our service. For example:
- Spiritual health leads to an awareness of the leading of the Spirit of God and the bearing of spiritual fruit.
- Emotional health leads to greater emotional intelligence (an awareness of our emotions and those of others) with which we can better empathize and care.
- Physical health leads to wellness and more energy to serve well.
- Financial health paves the way for increased generosity to meet needs.
Because the health of each domain impacts the others, if we desire to serve well we need to be intentional about each aspect of our health. Comprehensive health is a big deal because it impacts how we honor, represent, and serve God.
Comprehensive health is a big deal because it impacts how we honor, represent, & serve God.
It is at the heart of the Great Commandment to love God with everything we have. What greater motivation is there to get moving on the path to holistic health?
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. – 3 John 1:2
I want to help and encourage you in your journey to comprehensive health. Click the image below to check out a resource that can help you win.
Remember, you are the most important person you lead today. Honor God by leading yourself well!