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Success

“I have a feeling my career’s just peaked.”

 

That was Colin Firth’s reaction when he was given the Oscar for Best Actor in the Academy Awards show last night.  It is an amazing performance that he gives in The King’s Speech, the movie that won Best Picture.

 

I’m sure that Firth spent the rest of the night celebrating at the different high-profiled parties.  But, I wonder if there is a let down later, kind of a “What’s next?” experience.

 

The rest of us don’t have jobs that spotlight some great success on our part.  You might get a raise or a good review, but no Oscar.  Yet, I bet that there are moments when you might have some sense of success.  You might even be tempted to define yourself by that success, or at least by the pursuit of it.

 

Jesus did something very interesting when he had his first experience of success.  He snuck off.

 

The gospel of Mark tells us about Jesus’ first day of success in the town of Capernaum.  He amazes people with his teaching, does a healing and casts out an evil spirit in a man, and suddenly the whole town comes out to see him, brining the sick and the messed up.

 

Jesus must have been feeling pretty good about himself.  I wonder where the after-parties were going to be after such a grand day.

 

But, before dawn, the next day, Jesus sneaks off, Mark 1:35-38.  And where does he go? 

 

Out to the wilderness. 

 

Later his disciples come looking for him and they are upset with his leaving.  “Everyone’s looking for you,” they said.  They came to retrieve him.  But, he won’t go back.  He says that he must move on, go to other towns and villages to preach, because that’s why he has come.

 

What’s going on here?  Why does Jesus react like this to the success that he just had?  Why doesn’t he go back?

 

It seems like he needed to withdraw in order to stay grounded in who he was and what he had been sent to do.  It seemed like success was a threat to those tings.

 

Maybe you’ll never have enough success for it to be a threat.  Maybe the approval and affirmation of those you serve will never get you off track.  But, I am sure that there will be times when you need to check on who you are with God. There will be times when you need to be grounded again.  There will be times when you need to resist the agenda of others.

 

Do you know how to get to the wilderness?