Barnabas wanted to take John . . . with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him. Acts 15:37–38
Seven-year-old Thomas Edison didn’t like or do well in school. One day, he was even called “addled” (mentally confused) by a teacher. He stormed home. After speaking with the teacher the next day, his mom, a teacher by training, decided to teach Thomas at home. Helped along by her love and encouragement (and his God-given genius), Thomas went on to become a great inventor. He later wrote, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt I had someone to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”
In Acts 15, we read that Barnabas and the apostle Paul served together as missionaries until they had a major disagreement about whether or not to bring along John Mark. Paul was opposed because Mark had earlier “deserted them in Pamphylia” (vv. 36–38). As a result, Paul and Barnabas split. Paul took Silas and Barnabas took Mark. Barnabas was willing to give Mark a second chance, and his encouragement contributed to Mark’s ability to serve and succeed as a missionary. He went on to write the gospel of Mark and was even a comfort to Paul while he was in prison (2 Timothy 4:11).
Many of us can look back and point to someone in our life who encouraged and helped us along our way. God may be calling you to do the same for someone in your life. Whom might you encourage?
Who had faith in you and helped you succeed? What did that person do to encourage you?
Dear God, thank You for walking alongside me and placing people in my life who helped to make me who I am today.
Learning is one of the most important aspects of living—even for great thinkers and leaders like the apostle Paul. We see this learning in process when we consider his attitude toward John Mark in Acts 15 compared to his attitude in 2 Timothy 4. In Acts 15:38, when Paul and Barnabas agreed to visit the churches they’d planted, Paul refused to allow John Mark to accompany them because on the previous trip the young man had “deserted” them. In 2 Timothy 4:10–16, Paul wrote that when he needed support from his friends, they also had “deserted” him. Here, however, instead of throwing them away for their desertion (as he had John Mark), he pleaded that this not be held against them. An astonishing change of attitude—which is reinforced by Paul’s words of respect and appreciation for Mark in 2 Timothy 4:11.