At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place.
Everything that our Lord did was instructive to us, so we owe it to ourselves to pay close attention to his every action. This brief passage toward the end of Chapter 4 of Luke could easily slip by, but let us pause and reflect on it for a moment.
Jesus had just begun his ministry. He had been baptized, tempted in the desert, rejected in his hometown, traveled to Capernaum and gotten very busy curing those possessed by demons and healing the sick. If he wanted the people’s attention, he had certainly gotten it. Luke says that news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region (Luke 4:37).
He knew better than anyone how much there was to do. Every waking moment could have been spent among these people who so desperately needed his help.
Yet, it wasn’t. When he could have gotten up and gotten busy, Jesus went off to a quiet place and ministered to himself.
By taking these moments, Jesus teaches that sometimes the best action is inaction; the best preaching, silence; the best attack, retreat. This is the virtue of temperance; to know that there must be a balance in life between the extremes of busyness and idleness. All of us called to be servants, even Christ the servant of all, must take time to renew and replenish ourselves if we are to find and use the inner strength it takes to prudently fulfill our calling in life.
Scripture doesn’t tell us how long Jesus had to himself at this moment. Perhaps it was an hour, perhaps only a few minutes. Whatever it was, he took advantage of it.
He counsels us to do the same. We may be very busy attending to all the needs of children, family, or work. Whatever dominates your time, resolve to find even a few moments during the day to retreat to your own “deserted place” and listen for that still, small voice which is God.