Jesus is the perfect example of excellent self-care. He worked hard, ministered tirelessly, withdrew regularly. His first time in solitude was extended, forty days to be exact. He did that to prepare himself for public ministry. Emerging from the wilderness, he was empowered by the Holy Spirit to powerfully proclaim that the kingdom of God had come!
He needed a tribe, a community of people to train to continue sharing the gospel after he left. But before he chose twelve disciples to be his crew, he spent an entire night in prayer. Praying before making life changing decisions ensures success.
Jesus’ band of disciples appeared a bit motley from the outside. Uneducated fishermen, a loathed tax collector who cooperated with Rome, a zealot who defied Rome — they were rough. Jesus taught them the gospel by example and at one point in their training, he sent them out with a partner.
Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. 7And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits. . . 12So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. 13And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.Mark 6:7-13
Jesus knew the value of rest and solitude. When the disciples returned from ministry, they were delighted with the outcomes and wanted to talk. They might even have been ready to get back out there. Jesus knew what they needed most was rest, so he took them to a quiet place.
30The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. 31Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. 32So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.Mark 6:30-32
When I enjoy success in ministry or find that it really flopped, I need rest and solitude. Is that what I always do? It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the outcomes – good or bad – that I forget to step away with Jesus to recharge.
Have you experienced a glowing success or a crushing defeat? Maybe it’s time to get in the boat and go somewhere quiet for a bit. Take time to listen to the Holy Spirit. Be refreshed in the truth of God’s word. Take a nap. Eat a really good meal. It might just be what you need to be set up for success the next time.