How did Jesus handle success?

Early in his ministry, Jesus was wildly successful. He healed people from all kinds of diseases, set them free from their inner demons, and more and more people came to him. His disciples said to him, “Everyone is looking for you!”

That was the time to capitalize on his celebrity–to get invited to the best parties, to go for that endorsement contract, to make a statement to sway public opinion. Imagine all that Jesus could have done with that kind of success!

Instead, Jesus said to his disciples, “We must go.”

He wasn’t looking for a party invite, or to capitalize on his success in any way–instead, Jesus handled his success by spending the night alone in prayer, and by listening for God’s call in his life.  (Mark 1:35-39)

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Does success always mean winnning? or being popular? or more money? or ____? (Photo credit: Leo Reynolds)

Your Turn: I’m still thinking about my earlier post on success—does it always mean winning? or being popular? or having more money? Clearly Jesus had his own definition.

It wasn’t found in the crowds, but by spending a night alone to clear his head, praying about all that happened and what might be next, becoming convinced that he should move on from the certainty of success where he was to the new challenge and uncertain reception in the next town.

I wonder what the Olympic athletes are doing now that they’ve returned home from their success–getting some much needed rest I hope! and making some decisions about what’s next.

How do you handle success?



Categories: Spiritual Practice

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2 replies

  1. Thank you for this reflection. We all could learn so much from the humility of Jesus. One of my favorite quotes comes from Huston Smith’s “The Religions of Man”: “Jesus was a little known Jewish carpenter who, … was born in a stable, died at the age of 33 as a criminal rather than a hero, never traveled more than ninety miles from His birthplace, owned nothing, attended no college, marshaled no army, and instead of producing books did His only writing in the sand.”

  2. I remember wading through Smith’s book, but had forgotten that quote–thanks for the reminder!