And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:42-43 ESV)
As Jesus preached in Judea’s synagogues, the people were captivated because he taught “as one with authority,” (Mark 1:22) like no one they had ever heard. He would preach to thousands, heal the sick, and engage the destitute. In fact, at one point, his renown had so grown that the people sought to make him king by force (John 6:15).
Jesus could have easily stayed where he was and regularly had a large crowd gather in his presence. But what did Jesus do with this seeming success; did he set up headquarters and signs, pass out flyers, and increase seating capacity? Did he remain with those who begged him to stay and enjoy the fame and their adoration? Absolutely not, Jesus was blameless even in this and focused on his God ordained purpose.
We can look at success as a numbers game. The more people that come to my church or ministry, the more successful I am in the kingdom. Jesus is a great example for what success looks like as his followers. Jesus teaches us that success is not merely defined by popularity or crowds, but by obedience to God and his purpose for our life.
Find where you’ve remained when you should have pressed on in pursuing the Father’s purpose for your life, and then run after it.