“Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). As you remember, “John called Mark…had withdrawn from [Paul and Barnabas] in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. There arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other” (Acts 15:37-39). Paul had a very clear idea of what commitment to the Lord’s work meant and he did not want to take someone on the next assignment who was not unified in the Lord’s work.
The passing of time brought about a change in Mark which Paul observed. He was now “very useful” at the end of Paul’s life. There are two important principles that come out of this incident that we must implement in our lives and ministries.
1) Keep observing those around you, even if there have been disagreements. Watch what God is doing in them, pray for them, and in any degree you can, encourage them.
2) Look for opportunities where such persons can be redeployed into God’s work. We must be always thinking about the next generations and our need of investing in “Marks” who will carry on the Lord’s work faithfully (2 Timothy 2:2).
It should also be noted that Paul told Timothy to “Get Mark and bring him with you”. Paul is wisely using Timothy in this restoration process. He intentionally wanted Timothy to invest and have an impact on Mark, to ‘team up’ for fruitful ministry even after Paul was gone to glory. Timothy would also have been a catalyst in making sure Mark held no ill feelings against Paul for what had happened in Acts 15, and be a messenger of Paul’s heart.
This is the kind of ‘bridge-building’ we need among the people of God. It requires looking past faults to the potential God has placed in people. There are times when the Lord has reminded us of this principle and helped us put it into practice. Are you bridge-building for more effective ministry and greater glory for God?
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