Leave a Mark

Nurturing • Leave a Mark
Wes McCullough | Production Director

Social media is a great thing. No longer is lengthy and intermittent written correspondence needed to keep up with the lives of friends, loved ones, and others. Now we are always connected to those people through websites and apps.

As much as social media can bring people together, it can also drive them apart. The days of 8-year-olds saying to friends, “You cannot come to my birthday!” because of a disagreement are gone. No longer do middle school girls have to say, “You are not my friend anymore.” Today those actions are accomplished with the simple task of “unfriending” someone on social media sites. It has happened a few times to me. Even more shocking has been seeing family members “unfriend” each other. My policy is not to “unfriend” anyone. In my mind, despite whatever situation or disagreement we have had, I still care about and want the best for them.

Paul was a relentless apostle throughout the New Testament books. His life was dedicated to taking the Gospel to all the world. In Acts, we read about a mission trip Paul took with Barnabas and John Mark, where John Mark left them before their trip was finished. John Mark’s premature departure would cause problems on later trips.

“And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.’ Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” (Acts 15:36-41)

What catches my attention in that passage is “sharp.” Paul and Barnabas had a passionate disagreement about taking John Mark with them. Paul likely doubted John Mark’s dedication to the important task of evangelizing, while Barnabas was looking to give him a second chance. Neither man would compromise on their position. They split ways, and there is no record that they reunited.

Everyone loves second chances and happy endings. Previous sermons and devotions have taught about forgiveness. How many times should we forgive someone? The clear answer is as many times as God forgives us. God does not stop offering second chances and neither should we.

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