One of the first rules of first aid is to look after yourself. When you go on a first aid course, you are told, “A first aider can’t look after others to the best of their ability if they aren’t looking after themselves. First aid for the first aider is important and it’s something that is often overlooked as people prioritise the patient.” It’s a similar principle with fire rescue: ‘you should always be certain that you will not endanger yourself or others when attempting to put out a fire.’ This is not as selfish as it may sound; it’s simple common sense that you are no use to anyone else if you yourself are in danger or injured.

Paul makes a similar point when he addresses the Ephesian elders, teaching them how to act when he is no longer with them to guide and teach them. He says, ‘Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.’ (Acts 20:28) Ultimately, we must maintain our own spiritual wellbeing (as Paul wrote later to Timothy: ‘Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.’ 1 Tim 4:16) if we are to be of any use to others. It is only as the leaders themselves remain faithful to God that they can expect the church to do likewise. Leaders need to pray, seek God and spend time in His word if they are to be effective. Please pray for the leaders of churches to seek God first and to persevere in both living as children of light and believing truth so that they may be effective in their ministries.