Finish or Quit?

Two scenarios contrasted

What can we learn from two of Paul’s associates, Mark and Demas? Paul writes, “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers” (Philemon 23-24; see Colossians 4:10, 14).

Later Paul mentions both of them again, but note the change: “. . . Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica . . . . Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service” (2 Timothy 4:10-11).

Years before, Mark had deeply disappointed Paul because he returned home instead of continuing on their missionary journey. On the next trip Paul refused to take him along because he “had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work” (Acts 15:38; see 12:25; 13:5, 13). But now Paul recognizes the positive change in Mark. He who had been a disappointment has become “useful to me for service.”

Both Mark and Demas left Paul in the lurch. Whatever his reasons for leaving, Mark overcame his instability. But the last we hear of Demas is his tragic apostasy. He left because he “loved this present world.”

Learning from their experience

The same sort of scenario continues to play itself out in our day. Sitting perhaps on the same pew are two Christians. At one time Brother A could not be depended on to do his part, but that’s behind him now. Nearby, Brother B participates in the singing and bows his head for the prayers, but his heart is leaning increasingly toward the world. It won’t be long until he leaves the Lord and His church—another of Satan’s statistics.

Demas’ defection should give us pause to examine our own hearts for any indications of misplaced affections drawing us away from the living God (2 Corinthians 13:5; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17). On the other hand, if we have fallen short in our Christian walk, we can take a cue from Mark and become once again “useful . . . for service.”

quit or keep trying-tagged

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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