Summary: We live in an age when it is common for Fathers to desert their wives or children because they get tired of marriage. Some desert their callings because of the sufferings involved seem tougher than they originally conceived.
Illustration:During WWII six Navy pilots left their aircraft carrier on a mission. After searching the seas for enemy submarines, they tried to return to their ship shortly after dark. But the captain had ordered a blackout of all lights on the ship. Over and over the frantic pilots radioed, asking for just one light so they could see to land. But the pilots were told that the blackout could not be lifted. After several appeals and denials of their request, the ship’s operator turned the switch to break radio contact--and the pilots were forced to ditch in the ocean.
Today in the Word, MBI, October, 1991, p. 12.
1. We live in an age when it is common for Fathers to desert their wives or children because they get tired of marriage. Some desert their callings because of the sufferings involved seem tougher than they originally conceived. Have you ever considered why in times of war they shoot deserters? Maybe it has something to do with all the negative consequences of desertion. One can abandon another in all kinds of ways without even realizing it.
Example: Many relationships suffer untold heartaches because of emotional, mental, social, or physical desertion. In this account we are told about John Mark deserting Paul on the island of Paphos. Some have suggested that Mark felt homesick or became ill or could not stand the rigors of ministering with the fiery missionary.
One scholar even surmises that Mark harbored bitter disappointment that Paul had taken over the leadership from his friend Barnabas. Perhaps, Mark was afraid of moving on to Antioch where he would face abuse. For nearly twenty years Paul would struggle to overcome this young man’s deserting him in the midst of the battle.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you to consider all the consequences, implications and strained relationships because of desertion.
2. When Mark deserted Paul he failed his leader when he needed him most.
Example: Those of us who have served as missionaries in Africa for nearly twenty years know how devastating it is to be abandoned. Few front line ministers are able to continue to when their supporters withdraw their financial, prayer or communicational backing. The eye cannot function without the other parts of the body doing their part.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you to remain faithful to those whom He has called you to serve with - until He directs otherwise.
3. Even though Paul came to regard Mark as a useful servant, the restoration process still took twenty years of healing. No doubt some of the problem of reconciliation lay with Paul, but nothing cuts like desertion. Solomon once wrote, "A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city." (Prov. 18:19)
Application; Ask the Lord to help you to practice preventative medicine so as not to incur the problems of desertion.
4. Mark must have had to suffer the shame, indignity and loss of credibility because of his desertion. Nearly everyone in the Christian community would have heard about Mark’s desertion in those early years of the church. Certain sins just seem to have greater social, vocational and spiritual implications than others.