It’s a common story for many pastors: full of apparent vitality, lots of plans, endless projects, sleepless nights due to commitments, and days away from home due to ministerial pressure. At times, a pastor may sink his face between his hands in the face of everyday multiple demands.
I visited one pastor at his church for a conference, and saw him move like a robot. I wondered what was happening to him, but did not dare to cross the line of his privacy. It was his wife who came up to me and said: “Pastor, please pray for my husband and try to talk to him. He can’t sleep at night and has to take pills to get any sleep, but even the pills don’t have much effect at night. During the day, he walks like a sleepwalker and is already losing his basic daily faculties.” This cry was like the echo of thousands of pastors’ wives who say the same thing.
The apostle Paul talked about renewal in Rom. 12:1 when he said: “I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (NIV). One day, as I was reading this verse, I wondered: Why did Paul speak about offering the body and not mention the spirit or the soul, but only the body as a living sacrifice? After thinking about it, I understood that the apostle was possibly trying to remove the Greek mentality that had entered the early church.
Unfortunately, this same mentality has invaded the church and current leadership today. The Greek mentality taught that the body was not good, the spirit and the soul were, and the body was the cause of human problems. It also taught that to study a whole, it was necessary to divide it in parts. The Hebrew mentality showed otherwise. You couldn’t divide it, but had to offer it as a whole. That is why Paul said: Offer the body to God along with the spirit and the soul.
The apostle John put it this way: “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).
As leaders, we need to remember that we are whole, useful in the hands of God. We need to walk, think, look for and protect our overall health as servants of God. Being fully healthy will be an aroma pleasing to God, a pleasant and holy offering before the Lord whom we serve. Physical, emotional, sexual, mental and spiritual health are challenges that will always bring a reward.
We cannot live a life out of balance. Otherwise, sooner or later, we will collapse. There’s a reason why the Lord set apart a weekly day of rest. That day is meant to re-establish our depth with Him, find rest in our personal lives and reconnect with loved ones.
Practical Steps to Maintain Balance in Health:
- Rest, rest, rest. Remember that the Lord spoke about a weekly day of rest.
- Don’t forget to exercise. It nurtures us.
- Meditate, reflect and learn to be still before the Lord.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously believing that you are the savior. There’s only one Savior: Jesus. You are only the Savior’s helper.
- Don’t sacrifice your family and enriching time by spending it all with the sheep.
- Change the way you eat. Choose natural, and discard processed food, as the latter will leave you burned out.
- Finally, don’t let ministry become the machine that ends up crushing you and your family. Turn to the Leader of Excellence, Jesus, and you will learn much from Him.
Beloved leader, make the decision to stop and assess your journey. There are not many saviors of the world. There is only one, and He went to the cross for us all.
Our Master and Lord Jesus gave us the example. He did not live to finish worn out. He knew when to stop and disappear from the crowd.
The decision is ours and the reward comes from Him.
By: Serafín Contreras Galeano, a Foursquare credentialed minister and retired Foursquare Missions International area missionary. He now serves with Ministerio Renuevo de Plenitud. For more practical steps by this leader, visit Serafín Contreras Galeano’s website.
Translated by: Rose Mary Davidson, a Foursquare credentialed minister living in Santa Clarita, Calif.