If asked to identify the essential ingredients for success, would one of them be “you must often withdraw”? I have to admit that I haven’t used that strategy (although neither have I been successful at every endeavor I’ve pursued). The American way is to work hard and, then, if you achieve some modest level of success, work harder!
Let’s look at the example Jesus provides for us. In Luke 4 and 5, Jesus’ ministry has started. He’s driving out unclean spirits, healing all who come to Him, and He’s selected His first disciples, including Simon who He will rename as Peter (the rock on which He’ll build His church — Matthew 16:18).
By our “conventional wisdom”, now would be the time for Jesus to market and brand His ministry. Time to go global! Here is Jesus’ response to the explosive growth of his influence (I added the bold font).
But the news about Him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16)
Rather than redouble His efforts when He achieved His initial “success”, Jesus chose to withdraw to intimate communion with His father. What Jesus understood is that His strength and the true measure of His success came from relationship, not accolades.
Honestly, following Jesus’ example takes great courage in today’s society. I’ve decided to try. I hope you will, too.