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.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demon. Mark 1:35–39 NIV 1984
Jesus had some early recruits in the two sets of brothers who were fishing partners in Capernaum. They had been with him off and on for about a year now, and life was about to take a major shift for all of them. Jesus had recruited them to leave the fishing business in order to become vocational ‘religious’ workers – leaders in training. They had enlisted, leaving family and friends behind, for what would turn out to be a two-year training assignment and a new life-long vocation.
Having just ended an inspirational evening the night before, they discover Jesus alone outside of town spending time in prayer and communion with His Father. They assume that He will want to continue the wonderful experience of healing and miracles that occurred the night before, so they remind Him that, “everyone is looking for you.” They assume that He would want to return to Peter and Andrew’s home and heal those who were gathering there.
But, Jesus responded with a risk-taking statement, “Let’s go to the nearby villages…that is why I have come.” It was a risk to disappoint the expectations of his new recruits. What if they insisted on Him coming back to help? There was pressure on Jesus to conform to the wishes of His team and the needs of the masses. But, Jesus boldly and confidently said ‘no.’
It was His mission – task – purpose that brought clarity to the decision that now had to be made. He was focused on that purpose – the ‘why’ of His ministry. Thus, while it may seem difficult, it was not really. Clarity of purpose – mission made the decision an obvious one. He must go to the surrounding villages to tell them the Good News of the Kingdom and not be consumed with the needs in Capernaum only.
Clarity of purpose and maintaining that focus is essential for leadership success. Many a leader has started out well, having a clear vision for what they want to accomplish, but then in the midst of the ‘daily whiteout’ they forget why they are so busy. Consumed by the immediate needs, they succumb to reactive leadership instead of maintaining their strategic intent.
Don’t fall into this trap. Stay focused! Stay strategic! Don’t substitute busyness for strategic intent!