1362587427_carrying-the-cross-dailyAre We Disciples or Deserters? 

Acts 15:36-38 After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.” Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work.  After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.” Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work.


Desert:
1.to leave (a person, place, etc.) without intending to return, especially in violation of a duty, promise, or the like:
He deserted his wife. Synonyms: abandon, leave, quit; forsake.
2. (of military personnel) to leave or run away from (service, duty, etc.) with the intention of never returning:

I remember as a young boy giving my life to Christ hearing songs like, “I’m on the battlefield for my Lord and I promised him I would seve him till I die. I’m on the battlefield for my Lord.” Quitting or giving up on God was never an option.

It seems today that instead of having committed Discples or soldiers for God we have a lot of deserters. People aren’t as committed as they once were. We desert and defect so easy. What happened to our commitment? Why is it so easy to walk away from your assignment? How can you leave you church so easy?

Paul and Barnabas were on their way to go back to all the places they had preached to check on the new believers. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark but Paul didn’t because he had deserted them on a previous mission. The disagreement got so bad that Paul and Barnabas went in separate directions.

Was Paul being too hard on John Mark? I don’t think so. Here’s why?

1. No one who puts their hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom. When I accepted “my call” into the ministry, one of the old mothers took me by both hands and looked me in my eyes and said, “don’t turn back!” Once you enlist in God’s army you can’t turn back.

2. If you can’t keep up now you will not be able to keep up later. Jeremiah said, “if you have grown tired running with men how will you make it running with horses? If you failed in open country how will you make it in the jungle? (Jeremiah 12:25) if people will quit you when things are moderately inconvenient what do you think they will do when it really gets rough?

3. When you are on assignment you don’t have time to get caught up in worldly affairs.
No soldier who is on active duty gets entangled in worldly affairs because he or she wants to please the one that enlisted them. 2 Timothy 2:4 in other words as a committed disciple I don’t abandon my church where I’ve been called to serve to desert them for something worldly.

The good news is that John Mark got another chance to serve with Barnabas but not Paul. Even though you deserted, you can still come back. God is giving you grace to get back where you belong.

Dear God,

Thank you for letting me re-enlist. There were times I wanted to quit but you didn’t let me fall. God restore those who may have deserted but don’t know how to get back. Strengthen those who have been faithful but are tired. Forgive those who’ve gotten entangled in worldly affairs and who need to get back. We are ready to serve again. 

In Jesus Name,

Amen