Not there yet
Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. 2 Timothy 4:11
Have you ever had a friend that let you down? Maybe they said they would do something or meet you some place, but then it didn’t happen? Maybe you have had friends that walked away from you because you grew in different directions?
This happened to Paul. Earlier in his ministry, Paul’s team split up over a dispute about who would go to encourage the churches with them. (see Acts 15) John Mark had been with them at some point, but was not able to handle the pressures of ministry, so he went back home. He just wasn’t “there” yet in his spiritual walk. Acts 15:39 says that the tension became so great between Paul and Barnabas that they separated and into two different teams.
Now here in 2 Timothy, at the end of Paul’s mission, Paul is asking for (John) Mark to come because he has grown to the point that he can be useful in ministry. At the beginning, he wasn’t strong enough, but Barnabas worked with him until he grew to be a useful and productive member of the team. It’s almost as if Paul regrets the “break up” of the team and wants to make it right now, at the end of his life. He recognizes that John Mark may have disappointed him in the past, but he is still in ministry and has grown through being faithful in the little things.
The point is that if you are working with someone and they just don’t seem to be reliable, dependable or even beneficial to the cause or project you are working on, don’t give up on them. They’re just not there yet. Bring them along the best you can and love them where they are. Give them small tasks that they can do until they become faithful in the small things. In this way you can encourage them and watch how they are growing in the little jobs that you can easily clean up if they don’t get it right or even if the don’t show up for the task.
Today I want to encourage you to be patient and loving with those around you. Encourage and help those who are not as spiritually strong as you are. They still have something to offer. They can be faithful in the little things. Love them where they are and be prepared always to give them grace when they don’t quite get it right. We all miss it sometime, help those who may be struggling with stepping into ministry one small step at a time. Soon you will be inviting them along on many of your ministry experience.
Today’s scripture reading: 2 Timothy 4:9-15