Monday, February 8, 2010

No Deserters Please!

Acts 15:38 But Paul decided not to take with them one who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in the work.

One of my mentors told me, “I accept all resignations and never take back anybody that quits on you. If they quit on you once they’ll quit on you again.” It’s so important to make sure you have committed people with you in ministry, in life, and in business especially when you are trying to fulfill your divine purpose for your life. When God gives you a vision 9 times out of 10 it’s not going to be easy. In fact, Jesus made it clear when he said, “Many are called but few are chosen.” The older we get the more discretion we have to use in choosing our team. You have to be able to endure to the end to be a part of this mission. There is no room for deserters.

Paul and Barnabas had a successful mission in Asia Minor preaching the Gospel to Gentiles. Now Paul wanted to go back everywhere they preached the gospel to see what all the new believers were doing. Baranabas wanted to take John Mark, his cousin, with them but JM had quit on them in Pamphylia. Paul saw how shaky JM was in the psat and he didn’t want a repeat. When people show you who they are please believe them!

Two reasons Paul refused to travel again with JM:
1. He deserted them in Pamphylia and went back to Jerusalem. John Mark was not strong enough to endure the trials of preaching in hostile territories and went back to tradition. He wasn't a bad person, he just wasn’t ready for the challenges of ministry. When people desert you in the middle of something it’s hard to bring them back after you’ve been successful and you really shouldn’t unless they can show you proof of their own growth. But in general you shouldn’t bring back deserters.

2. He had not accompanied them in the work. Paul and Barnabbas had accomplished a lot and risked a lot. As a result God blessed them but it was dangerous. Now John Mark wanted to come in after the work had been done. Barnabbas has a big heart and plus it’s his cousin. He wants to give JM a second chance, but Paul is sterner and his thought is ‘he didn’t do the work; he doesn’t get to travel to see the success.’ You always have to discern when it’s time for a second chance and when it’s time to part company I agree with Paul, “If you can’t plow the field you shouldn’t eat the harvest.”

Dear God, give me a good balance of tenderness and toughness. I want to hear you right on the John Mark’s in my life. Please send me leaders who will finish the mission with me. Give me the strength to endure to the end myself. Help us all to endure to the end to finish the race, and fight the good fight of faith so we can hear you say, “well done my good and faithful servant, you’ve been faithful over a few things now come on up and I will make you ruler over many things.”

In Jesus Name,

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