Stewardship of Self for Christian Workers: Biblical Basis

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Brochures in this series contain self-help information for missionaries. Each brochure emphasizes practical things missionaries may do for specific problems in the absence of professional help.

Ideally, one ought to consult a medical professional before making any lifestyle change to ensure that the change will not be detrimental to existing conditions or treatments. However, some Christian workers have limited access to mental health professionals.

To read more from the Stewardship of Self series


Resource Description


God has called you into ministry, and you may assume that he will take care of you better than a corporation takes care of its workers. In your concern about helping others, you do not have to be concerned about such mundane things as getting enough sleep and taking time out for yourself, do you? If those you serve see you spending time on yourself, will that not harm your ministry? In fact, it seems almost selfish (sinful) to be concerned about yourself, and you would not want to do anything wrong, would you?

Commanded to love-Ourselves

When asked such questions as what was the greatest commandment or what one must do to obtain eternal life, Jesus replied that we should love God with everything we have and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. He noted that this was more important than offerings and sacrifices (Matthew 19:19; 22:39, Mark 12:31, 33; Luke 10:27). Of course, this was not a new command that Jesus came up with, but he was quoting what God had said hundreds of years earlier through Moses. He had commanded us not to look for revenge or keep a grudge but to love our neighbors as ourselves because he is the Lord (Leviticus 19:18).

In addition to what Jesus said in the gospels, other New Testament writers echoed the same thing. James pointed out that if you really want to keep the law found in Scripture, you will love your neighbor as you love yourself (James 2:8). Paul also noted that the entire law was summed up in the one command to love your neighbor as yourselves-and that was how you would serve one another in love (Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:13-14). Thus, you are to love yourself-and love your neighbor in the same way. If you do not love yourself, you may have difficulty loving those you are called to serve. People who do not care for themselves often have difficulty caring for others in healthy ways. If God had wanted us only to care for others, he would have left love of self out. The two are linked in important places.


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