walking away from success

Some of us humans are insecure.

Some of us humans like to hear praise from other people.

Some of us, when someone tells us that we are good at something, shift all our energy toward that thing.

Some of us, when we make that shift, are wrong.


Jesus is in his adopted hometown. He heals his best friend’s mother-in-law. After the sun goes down, the whole town gathers in front of the house. It probably wasn’t the whole town, just all the sick people and their families.

So Jesus healed a lot of them.

And then, sometime, he went to bed.

I’m guessing that a lot of the sick people camped out that night. I’m guessing that a lot more people showed up in the night.  Word of mouth is a wonderful thing. Word of mouth is something you can’t pay for. Word of mouth is the beginning of a movement.

So the next morning, when Peter looked out of his front window and saw a crowd waiting for his friend, he had to be excited.

He went to the guest bedroom and listened. No snoring. Maybe Jesus was a quiet sleeper. Peter waited awhile longer.

The noise was getting louder outside. Coughing and wheezing, moaning and groaning. Peter went to the guest bedroom again and listened. Nothing. He cleared his throat. No response. He risked a quiet, “Um, Jesus, would you like your breakfast fish grilled or fried?”



Peter looked in. And saw an empty bed.

Just then, a knock on the door and Andrew, Peter’s brother came in. And saw the look of panic on Peter’s face.

They started looking. The people outside started looking. Everyone was looking.

That’s what Simon told Jesus when they found him, anyway: “Everyone is looking for you.”

What they wanted to say was, “Whoa, Jesus. You got their attention. You got dugg. Everyone is following you. If we can harness this, you have it made. I’ll bet there’s a book deal in this. I’ll be you could get 3-4 books out of this one.”

The guys had it figured out. Jesus does back, heals a bunch of people and his career is set.

Jesus said no. Jesus said that they were going to other towns. Jesus said he had to preach to other people.

Although Jesus’ resume included “healer”, his business card did not. It probably said something like “telling people about the kingdom since we started it.”

(No wonder Simon Peter spent a lot of time on the road after that. He knew the size of the crowd in front of his house.)

But the challenge is a good one.

What success am I willing to walk away from for the sake of my purpose? What “could do” keeps me from my core “must do”?

And what about you?

From [Mark 1:29-39]


Oh yes. Where had Jesus been? Doing what he did regularly. He got up before sunrise to go away from the crowds. He needed the solitude. He needed to talk with his Dad. He needed to refresh his focus.


6 responses to “walking away from success

  1. *you got dugg*

    so funny.

    This was one of the “yeah. Yeah. Hey, YEAH” ones for me.

  2. We just talked about this one a while ago at Worship Team. Some things we came up with: 1) Jesus didn’t want to become an attraction (in Mark’s gospel, the response of the healed is not as important as the fact that they were healed). 2) By leaving at the high of his career (makes me think of JC Superstar), he pretty much left them hanging with all these people needing healing…essentially saying, YOU heal them now.

  3. This post takes something I’ve been mulling over a lot and turns it *just enough* to give me a whole new perspective. I love the tie to Jesus’ ministry and core purpose, and the distinction you draw between what we “could do” and what we “must do.”

  4. Thank You! Dead on with where my head is at and where it needs to be headed.

  5. Pingback: Were You Designed for Mediocrity? « The Official Blog of Ryan Johnston