Did you ever consider that when you give sacrificially without ever taking that you, in fact, are squandering your gifts from God? When you don’t take time for yourself and God you could be the wealthiest man alive but feel like a beggar.
I was talking to my friend today. She revealed to me many of her life worries, and as she continued something occurred to me. I blurted it out, “Do you realize you want the best for everyone else, but you expect the worst for yourself?” A look of shock came over her, and then she burst into laughter, “Wow!” She continued on to try to explain, but everything she said confirmed that my statement was true. I held up my hand to stop her. “On an airplane the attendant says that in an emergency you should put your mask on first, then help your child. If you are constantly helping people without helping yourself you are not only letting yourself go down but you are taking everyone else with you.” Sometimes we think we are doing good deeds to benefit others when, in fact, we are doing the opposite. By our actions we neglect our needs while teaching others how not to take care of themselves.
In Luke chapter 10 Jesus is at the home of Mary and Martha. Martha is busy doing housework while her sister rests at Jesus’ feet listening and marveling at His every word. Martha bursts with frustration. How can Mary be so selfishly idle while she slaves away in the kitchen? But Jesus gently corrects Martha, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one…” The moment you realize that in the end Jesus will not ask us to explain how much we did for others but how much we loved Him is the moment you will truly experience freedom.
A speaker at my church explained it this way. Each day you have several tasks. Your most important and most urgent tasks should be spending time with God, resting in Him. Your less important tasks are dressing perfectly, packing a lunch, watching TV, and yes, even work. Imagine your life is big container. Your most important tasks are big spheres. Your less important tasks are small spheres. If you put the small spheres in first and then try to fit the big spheres you are going to find that there is no room for the big spheres. If you put the big spheres in first and then the small spheres the small spheres will fit perfectly in between the big spheres, and even if some small spheres don’t fit you can live without them (like watching TV or dressing perfectly). The point is, put your oxygen mask on first, take care of yourself, and you will find you are more joyful and richer than ever before.
“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28