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Jesus Left a “Successful Ministry”—Could You Do the Same?

At the beginning of Mark’s gospel, we see Jesus gathering his first disciples, wowing the crowds in Capernaum and overwhelming the resources of Peter’s household. Full-scale revival had broken out and then Jesus did something extraordinary.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for you!’

Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’” (Mark 1:35-38)

Jesus left an incredibly fruitful ministry in Capernaum so that he could fulfill his calling to the other towns and villages of Israel. I wonder how easy it would be for us to do the same?

Having recently stepped away from several roles of leadership that I have filled for a considerable time, this question is very live for me right now.

As I’ve wrestled in making these decisions, I’ve tried to make sure that the issue at hand has never been what is best for me but, rather, what is God saying. And of course this has led to a recognition of what God is saying is best for those whom I serve as leader.

But what about you?

Imagine, if you will, all of your dreams for your mission and ministry being fulfilled. What would you do then?

Jesus had cultivated the correct response to success in the wilderness:

  • He chose God’s provision over his own appetite.
  • He chose the Father’s approval and not that of the crowds.
  • He chose the Lord’s path to fulfillment and not any other.

In the end, the depth of our spirituality will be more useful to us in the crucial decisions we make than anything else.

Missional Spirituality is about learning how to choose God’s given path and not the gravitational pull of our own character flaws. These will always pull us toward self-preservation, self-determination and self-aggrandizement.

In John 5:19, Jesus said that he could do ‘nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does.’

He was able to see what the Father was doing because there were no obstacles in the way of his vision.

We can begin to see a diminishing of those same obstacles to correct vision by following the pattern of Jesus.

As you consider what it is that you should do today, or this week, this month or this year, settle again the battles within by embracing the Father’s Lordship in your life. Trust him for your needs, believe him when he says he approves of you and is proud of you, and surrender to his call rather than your aspirations.

In doing so, you will definitely see more of what God wants to do!  

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Mike leads 3DM, the global home for an organic movement of biblical discipleship and missional church. He and his wife, Sally, have three children.