Mark 1: 37 When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”
I recall seeing a cartoon strip with a psychiatrist sitting beside a couch. On the couch was a pie with a few pieces missing and the pie said to the psychiatrist: “I feel like everybody wants a piece of me”. It is likely that some time in your life you will feel the same way. Especially if one day you have a family of your own, you will feel pulled in multiple directions between your spouse, your children, your job, your church, other obligations. Almost all successful athletes feel this way for much of their careers – the feeling that everyone wants something from them. In his book, “The Jersey Effect”, Hunter Smith describes his life as a professional athlete, a punter in the National Football League. When interviewed he says athletes have importance, have consequence, as long as they are able to perform. During that time, “everyone wants a piece of you”.
So what should our reaction be in times like this? If you are in the position of a revered athlete, the most important thing you should be striving for is humility. It is easy to get swayed by the fans, the allure of fame, and the intoxication of praise. Interestingly Jesus was tempted by this very thing himself. One of the most impactful stories in the New Testament for me is shared by John. Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast and it says “many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.” (John 2:23b-25). People were praising Jesus, they believed in his name, so why would he turn something so positive into a negative? Jesus recognized that he could not entrust himself to man for they were sinful, but he could entrust himself only to God. His value, his mission, his purpose came only from God, and Jesus knew he played music for only one conductor, it was God’s approval he lived for.
Perhaps you are not being revered or adulated, but you do feel pulled in every direction. I’m sure Jesus could have felt this way in the story of Mark 1: 37. When the disciples found Jesus they said “everyone is looking for You”. They may as well have said “everyone wants a piece of you”. In this case we can learn from what Jesus did before they found him, rather than after. Mark 1:35 says: 35 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. Jesus recognized that his day would involve expending himself for those around him. He knew he would be drained of his human energy and it was critical that he begin each day with his Father.
If Jesus needed to steal away to a solitary place to spend time with his Father, how much more is it critical that we do the same? Each Christian has their own preference for a time where they like to spend with God, whether that be morning or night, but it is critical that you make that time a priority, and at least some time before the day begins. If we do not, we begin the day running on spiritual empty and in those times the only thing that comes out of us is the unpleasant aroma of human fumes, and not the fragrant aroma that comes from Christ living in us. The next time you feel like you are being pulled in every direction, when everyone wants a piece of you, choose to retreat for a moment to that solitary place with your Father, and pray.