I remember reading the Book of Acts and the account of Paul, Barnabas and Mark and wondering how it got so bad between them. In Acts 15:36-40, the Bible reads:
“And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.”
Barnabas was one of those that stood by Paul after his conversion and yet they went separate ways. That was the last time we heard of Barnabas (except when Paul mentioned his name in one of his letters to the Churches); but this is not where I’m going. From the above Scripture, we see that Mark did not ‘start well’. It seems he left them when the going was rough.
Now, let’s look at someone who started well. His name was Demas and Paul in his letter to Philemon in Phil 1:23-24 says:
“There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus; Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellowlabourers.”
Fast forward a few years down the line when Paul was writing to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:10-11. This seems to be one of his last letters before he was martyred:
“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica… Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”
This same Mark who was the cause of the split between Paul and Barnabas has suddenly become profitable for the ministry; and the Demas who was called a fellowlabourer loved the world and departed? Wow! I didn’t see that coming.
I guess in the end, what matters most is how we finish although starting well is definitely a plus.
Food for thought:
It’s easy to live in bondage of fear about where we will end up when that Trumpet goes off but I think a better way to live is to live in love. May God help us in our walk towards perfection of love.
Matthew 10:22 “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”