“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
— Galatians 6:9
Being faithful in our commitments to God is not easy. We come to feel the burden of His service and it is quite a challenge. If we lose site of the faith, we grow weary and despair and in so doing draw back.
John Mark fell to such discouragement. He had enthusiastically committed to serve in Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13:5) but after Cyprus he abandoned the work and turned back.
“Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.”
— Acts 13:13
We do not know if the work was seen as too difficult or if John had grown homesick. What we do know is that the apostle Paul saw Marks departure as a betrayal of his commitment…so much so that Paul was unwilling to journey with Mark during his second missionary journey (Acts 15:36-39) though they later appear to have been reconciled (2 Timothy 4:11).
I think we can learn a few things from this incident. How many faithful pastors have been let down and discouraged when people enthusiastically join the church only to leave in a short time to seek a congregation wherein they think they will obtain more personal peace and affluence? I have been there and it is heartbreaking.
Service unto others is so quickly abandoned that we might better serve ourselves. When we fall to such worldliness, we fail in our service to Christ and to those to whom He has lovingly committed us to in fellowship. Herein we can understand the great discouragement and betrayal Paul felt in John Mark’s abandonment early on in that first missionary joinery.
Such unfaithfulness is incongruous with the love that Christ has for his church. When we fall to such fickle worldliness, we present a distorted picture of Christianity to those looking upon our lives. Christ has promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) but we will drop our commitment to our church family over things so trifling as to make even the angels shudder.
Many I fear will follow this great inconsistency all the way to the fires of Hell and only then realize their error. May God grant us grace to press on in our Christian commitments. Real Christians aren’t quitters.
Do you struggle with your Christian commitments? Comment below…