BY JOHN GUIDRY, PASTOR
Acts 15:37-40 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.
Paul saw a failure. Barnabas saw a future. Joseph’s brothers saw a tattletale. God saw a leader. Pharaoh perceived Moses as a murderer, but the Lord saw a saviour for his people. The multitudes saw the publican Zacchaeus as a sinner, but the Lord saw a soul that needed salvation. Peter was just another cursing fisherman, until Jesus came his way. What do you see when you look on others?
Mark accompanied Paul and Barnabas on a previous missionary journey. Perhaps he went along as an assistant to help with packing, cooking or other menial chores, and to have the chance to observe the two great preachers in action. The day came when he began to get homesick. Perhaps he started to miss Momma’s home-cooked meals. Maybe as a young aspiring preacher he was not satisfied with small tasks, but whatever the reason, he returned home. The day dawned to begin another missionary journey. As they prepared to leave, Barnabas arrived with his nephew John Mark. Paul looked upon John Mark and saw a problem, ‘What is this kid going to do? Tag along for a few days then run home when things get rough? Barnabas saw potential, I can teach him something. He has grown up a little now. He is a little wiser now. There is a call upon his life! We don’t know how the conversation went. Perhaps John Mark felt a little uneasy after watching all the fuss and division that he had brought about. Maybe he was very sensitive and perhaps the words of Paul painfully stung his heart. Maybe for a moment he thought once again that he should just go home after all, but someone believed in him. John Mark, in spite of his past failure, keep on going. How well Barnabas fulfilled the words of our Lord in the parable that spoke of the gardener who wanted to dig around a little longer. Luke 13:8
The years went by and John Mark matured. His ministry developed. We don’t hear of him again until 10 years later. Paul writes to the Colossians and asks them to receive John Mark. (Col 4:10) His perception of John Mark has changed. He is not a little kid anymore but he has grown into a man of God. John Mark is now considered by Paul as a fellow laborer. (Phil 1:24) Most beautiful of all is that now John Mark has reached a place in his ministry where he is useful to even Paul. At a time when Paul felt alone and perhaps even abandoned he wanted to see John Mark, “for he is profitable to me for the ministry. (2 Tim 4:11)
Paul saw the problem, Barnabas saw the potential. God knew who to give the burden to. If we should walk in on an artist before he has been able to complete a painting or sculpture, we would see no beauty. But the artist knows what the splatter of paint or what the rough stone can become. We need only give him time to work and when he is done we can stand amazed at the masterpiece. As the mythological Phoenix rose from the ashes so can a new creature arise from a life broken by sin.
How easy it is for us to look upon someone and see the faults and failures. But thank God that when he looks upon us he sees not what we are but what we can be. As Bro. Holly used to say, It is sometimes easy to have ‘spots on your glasses’, you see faults with everyone but actually the faults are not within the person but lie within our own preconceived perception. Sometimes we see what we want to see. You’ll find what you are looking for, why not try looking for something good? What are you going to do with your John Mark? The choice is simple, you could eradicate, but why not cultivate!
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE KENTUCKY DISTRICT NEWS, PAGE 6, APRIL 1999. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.