I recently read a meditation written by Henri Nouwen that reminded me of “the hidden life of Jesus.” I still find it remarkable that Jesus spent 30 or his 33 years in obscurity, most likely working as a carpenter in his home town of Nazareth.
And when he did launch his public ministry, much of it still remained “out of sight” (see Luke 5:15-16). Unlike other religious leaders of his day, Jesus shunned the spotlight, being as content to serve in out-of-the-way places as he was to walk the streets of Jerusalem—perhaps more so.
In terms of virtue there’s nothing better about “small,” but in terms of spiritual formation, there is something very important about it. It is in the hidden places and in the simple acts where the soul is liberated from egotism. There is a crucial difference between “showing off” and “showing forth.”
Paul picked up on this idea when he wrote to the Colossians, “Your life is hidden with Christ in God” (3:3). The path that leads out-of-the-way, helps keep the ego from getting in the way.