Our physical bodies need food, water, and sleep to survive. And part of faithful stewardship calls for us to care for our bodies and not neglect our basic needs. At the same time, there are occasions in which a type of spiritual food sustains us.
For instance, this was the case as Jesus was talking with the Samaritan woman. His disciples returned and urged him to eat something. But Jesus shared that he was nourished not by mere physical food but rather by doing God’s will and finishing the work he was sent to do. And the same is often true for us.
On the outside we might put in long hours with little pay. And human wisdom would suggest this payoff is not worth it. But something deeper fuels our souls – faithfully accomplishing the work God has given us to do.
Of course, our physical bodies still need adequate food, rest, and time to recover. And we diminish our impact when we don’t sufficiently care for these needs. But our endurance and sacrifices won’t always make sense when we’re evaluating our situation just from a physical point of view.
And, like the disciples of Christ, well-meaning others might also encourage us toward reasonable “self-care” practices. But they are blind to the spiritual realities sustaining us. And, in fact, these practices might become distractions if we don’t have the eyes to see ourselves.
To be sure, God has gifted us each with doing certain things well and has called us to use our unique strengths to bring more life and goodness into the world. And there’s a lot we can endure as we live in this sweet spot – allowing our souls to be fed with spiritual food and not merely from human wisdom.
In the end, continue to care for your body and all your physical needs. And remember God provides spiritual food to sustain you on the mission he’s given you to accomplish.