John Mark, a young man, had joined Paul and Barnabas in their first missionary journey (Acts 13:4-5). For some unspecified reason(s), he abandoned the missions trip (v.13). Perhaps he was homesick. Perhaps he couldn't take the tough life of the mission field. Paul was ticked because of John Mark's lack of commitment and because he abandoned the mission.
Three years after his first missionary journey, Paul wanted to revisit the same cities to encourage the new believers there (15:35-36). Barnabas wanted to bring John Mark along for this second missionary trip. Paul strongly disagreed. He felt that the young man had proven himself unreliable (vv.37-38). To Paul, the mission was important. Paul was right in not taking Mark. To Barnabas, the man was important. Barnabas was right in wanting to take him. Entrenched in their convictions, "their disagreement was so sharp that they separated" (v.39).
John Mark had failed before. But Barnabas believed that Mark deserved a second chance. Barnabas saw the value and potential in his young cousin who had been rejected as a failure (Colossians 4:10). Barnabas saw beyond John Mark's failure to restoration and a future usefulness and effectiveness.
Given a second chance, John Mark made it good. Later, Paul acknowledged (perhaps almost apologetically) that John Mark was a great help to him in the ministry (2 Timothy 4:11). This young reject went on to write the book that bears his name, the Gospel of Mark.
Can you remember a time when you failed, and a Barnabas came alongside, believing in you and restoring you to wholeness and usefulness? It's your turn. There are John Marks all around you who are crying out for a second chance. Will you be a Barnabas to them? , K.T. Sim, Our Daily Journey
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