Friday, June 09, 2017

Hope for quitters

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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 15:36-41

TO CHEW ON: “Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work.” Acts 15:37,38

A disagreement over taking John Mark with them (Paul and Barnabas) on Paul’s second trip resulted in a split. Paul went with Silas to Syria and Cilicia while Barnabas and his cousin John Mark sailed to Cyprus.

We might view this as a blot on the church’s history. It’s what so easily happens when leaders have different styles and they clash. Barnabas’s style was encouragement. He had launched Paul himself into ministry. Paul seems to have been more idealistic (You never quit) and practical (We don’t want quitters on this trip!).

But it seems that it all worked out for the good. Though Barnabas is never again mentioned in Acts, Paul’s letters speak of John Mark as a co-worker, testimony to the wisdom of giving him this second chance (Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24). In addition, John Mark went on to write the Gospel of Mark (scholars date its writing sometime after the deaths of Peter and Paul—65-70 A.D.).

My Bible’s introductory notes to Mark’s Gospel make this observation about the book:
“Mark’s Gospel teaches that the life of discipleship means following Jesus along the same path of misunderstanding and rejection that He encountered. For followers of Jesus in all ages the warning and promise are sure: ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it’ - Mark 8:34,35)” - J. Lyle Story, Introduction to Mark, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1347 (emphasis added).

Perhaps Mark’s emphasis on Jesus’ self-denial message was birthed by his disappointment in himself when he refused to deny himself and quit. Sometimes our most positive life lessons begin with a negative experience.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for using even the bad things on our resumés by redeeming them for good (Romans 8:28). Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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